Underdogs keen to impress at T20 World Cup - UAE team preview
CP Rizwan (c), Vriitya Aravind, Chirag Suri, Muhammad Waseem, Basil Hameed, Aryan Lakra, Zawar Farid, Kashif Daud, Karthik Meiyappan, Ahmed Raza, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Sabir Ali, Alishan Sharafu, Aayan Khan. Standby Players: Sultan Ahmed, Fahad Nawaz, Vishnu Sukumaran, Adithya Shetty, Sanchit Sharma.
Best finish at tournament
First Round in 2014
The ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia will be UAE’s second appearance in the marquee event. Previously, they have qualified just once for the World Cup – in 2014, UAE made it to the First Round of the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh after finishing fourth in the Qualifiers out of six teams.
The team - led by Khurram Khan - had a forgettable outing in the tournament, going winless in the three games and finishing at the bottom of Group B. In their opening match, they were comfortably beaten by the Netherlands by six wickets.
Their next clash was truncated by rain and Ireland emerged victorious by 21 runs by DLS method. UAE put up more of a fight in the final game while defending just 117. At one stage, Zimbabwe were 63/5 before an Elton Chigumbura special (53* off 21 balls) blew UAE away.
Pitted against Namibia, Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Group A of the First Round this year, UAE will be hoping for a better showing in Australia.
Results in the last 10 T20I games
(most recent first): L L L W L W W L W W
v Netherlands (16 October), Kardinia Park, Geelong
v Sri Lanka (October 18), Kardinia Park, Geelong
v Namibia (October 20), Kardinia Park, Geelong
v Netherlands (October 16) - UAE face Group A favourites and Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka in their second game at the T20 World Cup. Thus, winning the opening match against the Netherlands becomes all the more important if they are to stay alive in the event heading into their final contest.
The head-to-head between the two sides is all square at the moment, with UAE and Netherlands having four wins against their names from eight matches. However, it is the Dutch who hold the edge in ICC tournaments, with three of their four wins coming in Qualifiers or the World Cup.
UAE will be hoping to turn it around when they face the Netherlands in their opening match of the T20 World Cup.
Vriitya Aravind - Having only made his debut in 2020, Aravind has quickly become an important member of the UAE team. Still only 20 years old, his recent performances have shown that his maturity on the field is well beyond his age.
Aravind was the Player of the Tournament in the Global Qualifier A which UAE won to qualify for the T20 World Cup this year. He was the highest run-scorer in the tournament with 267 runs at an average of 89 and a strike rate of 154.33.
He announced his arrival in the tournament with a magnificent, unbeaten 97 against Ireland in the opening game and followed it up with scores of 40, 84* and 46. His form has been awry thereafter but the 20-year-old will be keen to make an impression when UAE travel to Australia for the T20 World Cup.
From winning the qualifier tournament to failing to qualify for the Asia Cup, UAE have experienced a mixed bag of form heading into the T20 World Cup this year.
A change in captaincy between the Qualifier and the T20 World Cup certainly hasn’t helped the team with UAE replacing their most successful T20I captain Ahmed Raza with CP Rizwan.
One of the biggest talking points from UAE’s squad announcement was the absence of Rohan Mustafa. The country’s most capped player and tenth-ranked all-rounder in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Player Rankings played as recently as August before he was dropped from the playing XI during the Asia Cup qualifiers and eventually found himself out of the World Cup squad.
The pressure will be on new captain Rizwan, who has endured a horrid start at the helm with just one win in five games.
If UAE are to make it out of the group, they will need the likes of Muhammad Waseem, Vriitya Aravind and Chirag Suri among others to step up. With the ball, UAE will be hoping Junaid Siddique, Ahmed Raza and KP Meiyappan can carry their form into the World Cup.
Pitted against Namibia, Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Group A, UAE have a monumental task on their hands to make it to the Super 12 stage of the World Cup.
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