UAE pay for poor fitness but Oman keep Gulf flag flying at World Twenty20 Qualifier

After the Kenyans posted 147 for five from their 20 overs, the UAE mustered a paltry 105 all out. It was their fourth defeat out of five matches this week, reports Paul Radley.

Kenya's Narendra Patel played a stellar role with the bat first and then took four wickets as well against UAE on Thursday. ICC / Donald MacLeod
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The UAE have been handed a stark reality check, having been all but knocked out of the World Twenty20 Qualifier in Edinburgh, Scotland, with one match of the pool stage to play.

The national team were humbled on Thursday by Kenya, a side who they had beaten in the lead-up to the competition.

After the Kenyans posted 147 for five from their 20 overs, the UAE mustered a paltry 105 all out.

It was their fourth defeat out of five matches this week.

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With one game left to play, against Oman tomorrow, their substantial net-run-rate deficit means the national team are almost certainly unable to qualify for the main competition in India next year.

The poor form in Scotland marks a major come down from earlier this year, when optimism abounded as the side headed off to the 50-over World Cup for the first time in 19 years.

Even Aaqib Javed, the coach who is perennially upbeat, has been critical, bemoaning an ageing side and calling for changes to the way the elite game is run in the UAE.

Mansoor Pasha, the UAE team manager, said the atmosphere surrounding the side is totally different to what it was at the World Cup.

“The fitness and the mental status is low if you compare it to the World Cup,” Pasha said. “Back then, they were very fit. Now the fitness is a long way down and they have not gelled as one team.”

There could yet be Gulf representation in the tournament in India next year, though, as Oman continued their good form. Oman, who knocked the UAE out of pre-qualifying for the 2012 competition but have yet to play at the World T20, beat the previously irresistible Afghanistan by 40 runs.

It was their third win in the pool stage and leaves them with a strong chance of progressing.

“This is our third time in the qualifiers and we have never made it into the World T20, but this time things are going very well,” said Mehran Khan, who was man of the match for Oman having taken four wickets.

“We have done five months hard work at home and it’s paying off now. This is one of the best wins we have had in the recent past.”

On a morning of upsets, Papua New Guinea shocked co-hosts and tournament favourites Ireland in the other group, while Nepal limped to defeat against Hong Kong.

pradley@thenational.ae

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