Positives aplenty despite early exit - UAE tournament review
Most runs – Muhammad Waseem (93)
Most wickets – Zahoor Khan and Karthik Meiyappan (5)
What went right
There were plenty of positives to come out of the tournament for the UAE and none more so when they upset Namibia in Geelong to record their first ever victory at a T20 World Cup.
Ironically, this performance came when they got a reasonably even performance from their side, while they also had a couple of standout moments from an individual perspective that arose from their earlier games.
None more so when spinner Karthik Meiyappan picked up the first hat-trick of the tournament against Sri Lanka when he dismissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka and skipper Dasun Shanaka with a magnificent piece of bowling.
Junaid Siddique's spell of 3/24 with the new ball against the Netherlands was also a highlight, while Muhammad Waseem showed his class with a stylish half-century against Namibia.
What went wrong
It was the lack of consistency that ultimately cost UAE as they failed to match the efforts they showed against Namibia when taking on the Netherlands and Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament.
And that's in all aspects of the game that UAE failed to find consistency, with their middle order culpable for not being able to build on a reasonable start provided by their openers.
Both their pacers and spinners bowled well in patches too, but weren’t always supported by their fellow bowlers at the other end.
What does the future hold?
The future is bright for cricket in the UAE and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic that the Emirati side will continue to improve as they get more exposure against the top sides.
Teenager Aayan Khan made his T20 World Cup debut during the tournament at the age of 16 and is one to keep an eye on, while the likes of Vriitya Aravind and Meiyappan are still very young and seemingly with their best cricket in front of them.
CP Rizwan only took the captaincy reins from Ahmed Raza on the eve of the tournament so a decision will need to be made whether the 34-year-old remains in the top job ahead of next year's 50-over World Cup and the 2024 T20 World Cup.
But there are plenty of good signs for cricket in the UAE, so expect them to continue to build over the coming years.
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