UAE v Afghanistan, Asia Cup 2016 qualifiers February 19, 2016

Rohan Mustafa magic shocks Afghanistan

ESPNcricinfo staff

United Arab Emirates 176 for 4 (Mustafa 77, Shahzad 25, Rashid Khan 3-25) beat Afghanistan 160 (Sadiq 72, Naveed 2-23, Ahmed 2-28) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo - Rohan Mustafa'a 77 is the highest individual score by a UAE batsman in T20Is © ICC

United Arab Emirates stirred the qualifying round of the Asia Cup T20 with an upset over Afghanistan in a fairly high-scoring opening match in Fatullah on Friday.

In what was largely a tale of two knocks, Rohan Mustafa, the UAE opener, came trumps; his 50-ball 77 laying the base for their strong total of 176 for 4. Afghanistan were rocked early, and didn't quite recover even though Karim Sadiq kept them in the hunt with a fighting 48-ball 72. The target eventually proved to be 16 too many.

On paper, there was little doubt as to which was the stronger side. But UAE, with only three players having an experience of 10 or more T20Is, did the early running after opting to bat, with Muhammad Kaleem complementing Mustafa well during the course of a quick 83-run opening stand before Rashid Khan struck.

The 17-year old legspinner, who impressed during the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe last month, slowed things down further by dismissing Shaiman Anwar and Amjad Javed, the captain, off consecutive overs as UAE, who looked set to get close to 200 at one stage, slipped from 121 for 1 to 128 for 4.

Usman Mushtaq and Mohammad Shahzad came up with the rescue act. The two lent the finishing touches to the innings by adding 48 off the last five overs; Shahzad being particularly harsh on comeback man Shapoor Zadran, who was smashed for two sixes in the 17th over.

Afghanistan's chase hit a roadblock upfront as Mohammad Shahzad and Usman Ghani were dismissed in the space of three deliveries inside the first two overs. Asghar Stanikzai's wicket to his opposite number further threatened to pull the shutters on the chase.

Sadiq and Mohammad Nabi, coming into the tournament on the back of a successful stint with Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League, revived the chase with a 47-run stand, before Farhan Ahmed, the left-arm spinner, came back for a new spell and prised out Nabi for 23.

The loss of wickets forced Sadiq to hit out, which he did quite well to bring up a half-century off just 35 balls to bring the equation down to 33 off the last two overs. Sadiq, however, fell for 72 when he was bowled by seamer Mohammad Naveed. Mustafa then followed his rapid fifty with three wickets in the final over as Afghanistan were bowled out for 160 with one ball to spare.

By winning as comprehensively as they did, UAE also made it loud and clear that they weren't in it to merely make up the numbers.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Musty on February 24, 2016, 10:52 GMT

    @Rarrukhh The Afghan team had no preparation whatsoever the fast biwlets were useless as the pitch was spin friendly so our dumb captain didn't adjust hus brain and his tactics fast enough thus he allowed too many runs, he should have sticked to his typical bowlers that played against Zimbabwe, Naib is not full time bowler he gives too many runs bring in Mirwais instead of Karim, Afghanistan don't even learn in the hard way either.

  • Farrukh on February 23, 2016, 8:09 GMT

    afghan bowling let them down , which is strange because they were always better in that department. they need some big names in their bowling coaching.

  • Musty on February 21, 2016, 13:39 GMT

    Unfortunately UAE are favourites from here, I am not a cricket fan but like to see Afghanistan on big stage as it brings happiness and joy on many Afghans youngsters/olders, for Afghans its not for money as in case of UAE and its expats. Arabs don't watch cricket, they don't even know they have a cricket team. This is unfair tournament why does Afg need to play qualifiers anyway,

  • Musty on February 21, 2016, 11:09 GMT

    I strongly think these associate teams who have original native players should complain to ICC to remove non born players from that nation, then it will be fair competition otherwise it will affect/slow other team's progress

  • Khalid on February 20, 2016, 21:30 GMT

    (UAE) A team comprised of all Pakis and Indias will qualify for Asia cup 2016, you got to be kidding me! That ain't gonna happen in Afg, presence. I gave you my words.

  • Khalid on February 20, 2016, 21:22 GMT

    UAE is going to lose to both HK and Oman by big margins, and AFG. will certainly beat HK by a drastic margin, take my words for it.

  • Musty on February 20, 2016, 12:39 GMT

    All Emaratis don't know they have a cricket team nor they want to know. So why ICC wasting its money on expats while they can better utilise its money by giving more finance support to teams like Nepal, Scotland, Ireland, PNG and AFG. Arabs don't care about cricket but to Afghans it means alot, I am not moaning but it is not fair competition, the above teans should lodge a complaint to ICC

  • Bangla on February 20, 2016, 5:39 GMT

    I do not think team like UAE,HK , full of outsider, should be playing cricket, and ICC should ban them. There is no single native player. These so called players will disappear. Cricket will not grow in those country by relying on outsider. So I ask ICC just do not fill the numbers by allowing these so called countries to play country.

  • Musty on February 19, 2016, 22:02 GMT

    ICC should expel players that are not born in UAE this is not IPL or BPL team it is a national team of Emirates.

  • Khalid on February 19, 2016, 19:38 GMT

    UAE is a team made of all foreigners, they are part of the team today and will disappear tomorrow. UAE should not be proud. Today luck was with UAE and won, will see how they do in the next two game against HK an Oman. Time will tell which team is the best!

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