MUSCAT: Riding on Rohan Mustafa’s dependable talent, UAE booked a berth in the semifinals of the ACC Western Region T20 Tournament, beating Kuwait by 47 runs for their second win in two days.
UAE now top Group B and would face the second-placed side in Group A which could be Oman if they beat Maldives on Tuesday in their third and last group game.
In the afternoon’s other game, Bahrain crushed winless Maldives by 65 runs to register their first victory in the tournament.
Involved in a 96-run opening partnership with Chirag Suri who struck a solid 51, Mustafa stamped his authority on the game from the very outset, driving, cutting and pulling his way to a vital 51 off 37 that kept Kuwait on a leather hunt for the first half of the innings. Buoyed by a great start, UAE went on to post a sizeable 186 for 5 on the board and ended up defending it rather comfortably too.
Apart from opener Ravija’s strokeful 49, Kuwait did not look like mounting a successful chase and folded up for 139 in the 18th over.
UAE captain Ahmed Raza was over the moon after his sealing a spot in the semis.
“We are absolutely delighted with the way this tournament has gone so far for us. Reaching the last four is obviously the icing on the cake. Kuwait showed in glimpses how good a team they are. Their opener Ravija played a wonderful knock and their fast bowler Sayed Monib was so good with the new ball,” he said.
Raza was all praise for Mustafa who has won his second consecutive player of the match award on Monday.
“He is one of the most important members of the team and we all do look up to him in crunch situations. Even today he batted so well up front and bowled some crucial overs whenever I threw the ball up to him. I hope he continues to perform the way he has so far,” said Raza.
“We are still in the Gulf and feeling at home, so there is no home advantage for anyone,” he added responding to a question on the probability of facing Oman in the semifinal on Wednesday.
Opener Sarfaraz Ali’s hard-hitting 50 off 22 balls that including five big sixes was the highlight of Bahrain’s imposing total of 186 for 9 which proved too good to chase for Maldives who could manage only 121 for 9 in its 20 overs. Mitutathrige Nilantha top-scored with a stylish 41.
BRIEF SCORES: UAE 186 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohan Mustafa 51 – 5×4, 2×6, Chirag Suri 51 – 3×4, 1×6, Muhammed Usman 26 – 1×4, 2×6. Sayed Monib 2-30) beat Kuwait 139 all out in 17.4 overs (Ravija Sandaruwan 49 – 2×4, 4×6, Muhammed Aslam Mawfer 32 – 2×4, 1×6. Zahoor Khan 3-17, Waheed Ahmed 3-25, Rohan Mustafa 1-30) by 47 runs.
Bahrain 186 for 9 in 20 overs (Sarfaraz Ali 50 – 3×4, 5×6, Muhammed Younis 25 – 5×4, Ammad Uddin 24 – 2×4, 2×6. Mututanthrige Nilantha 2-21, Ibrahim Hassan 2-30, Leem Shafeeq 2-32) trounced Maldives 121 for 9 in 20 overs (Mututanthrige Nilantha 40 – 5×4, Hassan Haziq 20 – 2×4, 1×6. Imran Masood 2-24, Junaid Aziz 2-24) by 65 runs.