Under-19 World Cup: Resilient UAE on threshold of history as they target another upset

Team is positive and excited for final, coach Amar says on eve of Ireland clash

Dubai: A resilient UAE team is on the threshold of history after living up to their promise in the Under-19 ICC World Cup as they take on Ireland in the Plate final on Monday.

Coach Najeeb Amar had forewarned that they will cause an upset before the start of the tournament. Now the team have proved his words after defeating West Indies in the Plate semi-finals despite being hampered by loss of three players due to Covid.

“I was confident that we would cause a big upset, we have done it,” a proud Amar told Gulf News. “I really admire my team as we beat a Test-playing nation in their home conditions. It was a great team work and we play as one unit.”

Top-order collapse

UAE suffered a major blow ahead of the West Indies clash when two of their main spinners – Adithya Shetty and Nilansh Keswani, along with all-rounder Soorya Sathish – tested positive.

Electing to bat first, UAE suffered a top-order collapse but Aayan Khan took the responsibility on his shoulders and a built a 103-run seventh-wicket partnership with debutant Shival Bawa to take UAE to 224 for nine in 50 overs. In reply, West Indies were dismissed for 142 in 39.4 overs.

“It was an excellent partnership that saved the UAE,” Najeeb said while adding, “Jash Giyanani, Dhruv Parashar set the tone for the rest of the bowlers to make it tough for the West Indian batters. The tight bowling was aided by excellent field and we took brilliant catches.”

Against West Indies team trainer Azhar was on the field as a substitute and coach Najeeb and physio acting as the 12th man carrying drinks to players after Aayan came out due to cramps.

Major test

The UAE’s preparations were hampered at the start due to the lack of international events and their first major test was in the Asia Cup, which gave them the opportunity to assess the team and also give the players an understanding on the requirements at the international level.

If there is one area of concern for UAE in their final against Ireland at Port-of-Spain, it’s the lack of form for the top order batters. However, the coach has full faith in his players and is confident that they will deliver when it is needed the most.

“I am sure our top order batters will deliver on the day and it is long overdue. Team is very positive and very excited for the final,” Najeeb concluded.

Source : Gulf News

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