Shaiman Anwar returns to life but UAE bowlers fall victim to Pakistan’s Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik

The fact that the UAE pushed the Pakistanis all the way, in the face of more remarkable bowling from Mohammed Amir, is a testament to the pluck, as much as skill, of the UAE’s cricketers, Paul Radley writes from Dhaka.

UAE's Shaiman Anwar, right, plays a shot as the Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed looks on during the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on February 29, 2016. AFP / MUNIR UZ ZAMAN
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DHAKA // So much for the special relationship. Borrow our grounds for your national team matches. Host your new whizzbang Twenty20 tournament at the same stadia.

Your players are welcome in our domestic competitions. We will play practice matches against you when you want to prepare for Test series.

If UAE cricket were hoping for any return favours from Pakistan for all their hospitality over the years, though, they were sorely disappointed in Dhaka.

Not that the national team asked for any quarter, either. The fact they pushed the Pakistanis all the way, in the face of more remarkable bowling from Mohammed Amir, is a testament to the pluck, as much as skill, of the UAE’s cricketers.

Pakistan eventually won at a canter, by seven wickets, amid a flurry of sixes from Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik. It masks the fact they struggled for much of their innings with the bat, though.

Video: UAE happy with the Asia Cup experience as they get set to face Pakistan

Amir was just as impressive as he had been in Pakistan’s opening Asia Cup match, against India - if only slightly less incisive - as he returned extraordinary figures of two for six off his four overs. All but three of his deliveries were dot balls.

Despite his one-man masterclass, the UAE were able to cobble together 129 for six from their 20 overs.

Shaiman Anwar, who has otherwise had a curiously fallow Asia Cup, chose this moment to remind everyone of his talent.

The UAE’s leading scorer at last year’s 50-over World Cup is still raging at the fact he missed out on a Pakistan Super League contract.

He was the lone UAE player in the draft for that competition, but was left on the shelf. He was clearly keen to prove his worth here as he was the national team’s main source of defiance against Pakistan’s gilded bowling attack.

Shaiman’s 46 included three fours in consecutive deliveries off Shahid Afridi. Maybe Peshawar Zalmi, Afridi’s PSL franchise, will sign him up.

It was thanks to his effort that the UAE had any semblance of a defendable total. When they were three for 12 at the start of the innings, it looked like being a quick game.

The side who were forced to qualify for this stage, and did so with resounding wins over Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Oman last week, scented a shock win when they knocked over three of Pakistan’s top order early in the reply.

Amjad Javed, the UAE captain, had Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor and Mohammed Hafeez within his first two overs.

The national team seemed well on top at that point, but Malik and Akmal repaired the innings cannily.

Malik was dropped on 41 by Usman Mushtaq, on the deep backward square leg boundary, after he top edged a bouncer from Mohammed Shahzad.

That was realistically the UAE’s last chance, and the two batsmen pressed the accelerator from that point, eventually coasting to the win with eight balls to spare.

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