ABU DHABI T20

It could all have gone so horribly wrong for the UAE national side, recovering to 117 for 6 after a disastrous start at Abu Dhabi Cricket.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the pace of Australia’s opening bowlers blasted out the first 2 wickets before a run was scored.

Ashfaq Ahmed got a high top edge to a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery in just the third ball of the match and was caught at midwicket. Billy Stanlake then knocked Rohan Mustafa’s stumps out of the ground with his first delivery.

Chirag Suri played a couple of nice cuts and drives before chipping Stanlake to cover on 13, taking the score to 17 for 3.

From there however, UAE stalwart Shaiman Anwar led the recovery campaign with Rameez Shahzad in support. Their partnership was worth 53, taking their side from the 5th over to the 15th.

Shaiman was in clean-striking mood, lofting long drives over long-off and then over long-on from Andrew Tye and then Stanlake respectively.

Shahzad was on 22 when he sliced Coulter-Nile high to cover looking to press the run rate, then Tye bowled Shaiman leg stump when the batsman tried to ramp a ball to fine leg.

It subsequently brought Muhammad Naveed to the crease, who lumped Tye into the sight screen on the full before upper-cutting him for four. Then after he and Ghulam Shabber each edged Coulter-Nile over or past the wicketkeeper, Naveed rounded out the match with a gorgeous flick off his pads that caught the breeze high over midwicket.

His final flurry of 27 from 13 carried the score well past the hundred, when that mark had looked wildly optimistic in the second over. Naveed could have had five more, except his final shot to long-on was tapped back on the rope and the throw was returned to run out Shabber from the last ball of the innings.

Australia were made to work hard in reply, with opening bowler Amir Hayat dismissing Finch (1) and Lynn (20) to top-edged pulls, and Naveed keeping the run rate tight. But D’Arcy Short and Glenn Maxwell put on a partnership of 42, and after Maxwell found long off on 18, Short pushed on to a half-century.

He finished the innings on 68 not out with the debutant McDermott for company on 10, having tracked down the target in the 17th over. The UAE did however have plenty to smile about after what was a competitive match and an excellent recovery.

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