The United Arab Emirates has recorded a four-wicket win over Scotland in the second match of the United Arab Emirate Tri-Series on the back of a brilliant effort with the ball that was highlighted by three wickets on debut to spinner Imran Haider.
It was the second straight defeat for the Scots who had tasted a shock defeat against Hong Kong in the first match just two days ago.
Scotland won the toss and batted first on a dusty and dry track that looked conductive to spin. The decision to bat first looked a great one after nine overs where the visitors had progressed to 0-50 with openers Matthew Cross and Captain Kyle Coetzer humming along without a hitch.
However the wicket of Cross (24) led to a clump of wickets falling regularly in the next few overs. Calum McLeod fell for 8 and when Coetzer fell to the irresistible Imran Haider for 30 off 35 balls, The Scots had lost 3-18 in five overs.
Scotland continued to struggle with the spin and turn of the wicket and if it weren’t for Richie Berrington (50 from 88 balls) who collected his 8th ODI half-century, it wouldn’t have got close to batting out the 50 overs. As it stood it only batted for a touch above 45 overs as it was bowled all out for a modest 173 thanks to some handy contributions in the lower order.
Haider (3-36 from 10 overs) a debutante combined beautifully with another debutante (UAE had five in total) Ahmed Rasa (2-19 from 10 overs) in tying down the Scottish run effort and bamboozling it with spin and turn. Zahoor Khan continued the momentum by collecting tidy figures of 3-17 as he cleaned up the Scots pesky lower order and ensured the hosts weren’t chasing anything above 200.
In reply, the UAE couldn’t have started anymore poorly. It slipped to a precarious 4-39 as Josh Davey and Safyaan Sharif collected two wickets a piece to leave the UAE in danger of collapsing in front of its home fans.
However it was saved by a 62-run fifth-wicket partnership between Muhummad Usman (45) and Adnan Mufti (43*) as it got home with a four-wicket win.
Mohammed Naveen entertained the crowd with a quick-fire 30 from 23 balls (including two sixes) before Ahmed Rasa hit a composed 16 not out to seal the win with just over 8 overs remaining.
Scotland has now lost its past three matches after losing in the semi-final stage of the Desert T20 Cup to neighbors Ireland a week ago. It has struggled with the harsh environment of the UAE and will need to be more composed with the bat if it wants to keep its hopes alive of making the finals of this Tri-Series.
It can take solace however, from its promising form with the ball in this match in what could bode well for it in the future matches.
For the UAE it will take a lot of confidence from the win after an up and down performance in the Desert T20 Cup. With a mixture of youth and experience throughout the squad it could very well take out the Tri-series if it can maintain consistency and play to its full potential.