ABU DHABI // Khurram Khan played the captain’s role again to guide the UAE to a 14-run win over the United States and book their passage to the knock-out round in the World Twenty20 Qualifier.
He stroked 61 not out for his team to post 151 for five and took three wickets, including two in one over, that turned the match in the host team’s favour on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
The US needed 17 runs in the last over, and Shadeep Silva, the left-arm spinner, bowled an excellent six deliveries to take two wickets for three runs for the UAE to bounce back from their 67-run defeat to Italy on the previous day.
“I had a good opening spell and when the captain tossed the ball at me with the task of bowling the last over, I was quite confident to do the job for the team. I just stuck to my task of pitching it on the right areas,” Silva said.
The US were well-placed at 104 for two, needing 48 from 38 balls, when Rohan Mustafa removed Karan Ganesh (22 off 12 balls) to break a threatening third-wicket partnership.
“Everybody played their part,” Khurram said. “The openers gave a steady start and then it was up to me to carry on. I did that and we managed to post a competitive total.”
Khurram struck a double blow in the next over to send back the opener Steven Taylor (42) and Srini Santhanam (2) in successive deliveries to turn the game in the UAE’s favour.
“The match was slipping away,” Khurram said. “Rohan bowled a beautiful over and then I came in and took two wickets.
“All credit goes to Shadeep as his spell was simply exceptional. If you turn around things in such way, you really feel proud of the boys.”
The UAE finished third in Group A behind Ireland and Hong Kong, and they face the Netherlands in the knock-out round on Wednesday. Hong Kong face Nepal in the other game.
The winners of the two games between the second and third teams in the groups will join Ireland and Afghanistan in Bangladesh next year as the table toppers, irrespective of the outcome when they play each other in the knock-out round.
“We don’t mind playing against any team, as it is the knock-out stage,” Khurram said.
“We will have to keep up this good work. I’m sure this performance will lift the team after that loss against Italy [on Saturday], which shows that the boys have lot of character.”
For Ireland, it will be their fourth successive qualification for the World Twenty20, while Afghanistan will be playing in their third tournament.
Ireland rounded off their campaign with an 85-run win over Hong Kong, winning all their matches, barring one that was abandoned because of rain. Afghanistan won six of their seven games in Group B.
Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE