Tauqir lauds 'Sir Viv' Anwar
Kumar Sangakkara has two centuries on the trot. Chris Gayle bludgeoned 215. AB de Villiers has smoked 162 not out in 66 balls. Yet it is not one of these august names that tops the World Cup's run-scorers' list.
Twenty-six games into the tournament, Shaiman Anwar has more runs than any batsman, having struck his second fifty, against Pakistan, to go with the ton against Ireland. His 62 off 88 on Wednesday did little to alter the course of the match, but his attitude and his approach has earned comparisons with the greats, in his own dressing room, captain Mohammad Tauqir said.
"Anwar's doing very well in the team and he's such a confident individual that we call him 'Sir Viv' in the dressing room - that's his nickname," he said.
He played and missed regularly early in his innings, but that confidence was first seen in the 14th over, when he punched Sohail Khan through cover-point for four, then ramped him over third man for six two balls later. He would later launch Sohaib Maqsood over long off, but was equally adept at finding runs into the outfield in between, particularly through the off side. UAE batsmen have not often been great rotators of strike, but Anwar struck a steady rhythm with Khurram Khan, who joined him for 83 largely risk-free runs.
There was also a drive over extra cover, which had proved productive for Anwar in previous matches, but Anwar was out attempting to loft the ball in the same region. He mis-hit a Shahid Afridi slider to long-off in the 39th over.
"Today he probably missed a hundred. If he could have stayed till the end he would have scored 90 to 100 runs, but it's still an excellent performance. He's a brilliant batsman and I'm very happy for him."
Anwar had arrived at the crease with the score at 25 for 3 after 10 overs, and though he and Khurram put on 83 together, neither batsman appeared bothered by a steepling asking rate and a giant total. UAE effectively accepted defeat early in their innings, despite having spoken of targeting an upset in the approach to the game. After Pakistan had hit 339 for 6, however, UAE had taken stock and dialled down their ambition, Tauqir said. UAE finished with 210 for 8 from their 50 overs.
"In pursuit of 340 we don't want to get out in 30 [overs] and make a mockery of ourselves," he said. "The plan was to keep wickets in hand, build partnerships and then to go for our big shots in the last 15 overs. Unfortunately there were a few early wickets, so we needed to slow down and build partnerships.
"Playing 50 overs against Pakistan is a big positive for the team. Our effort is to do well against the Test nations. In batting, we should do our basics right and play all 50 overs. In bowling also, we need to restrict them. We should not concede 400-plus kind of runs. That's what we want to learn."
Tauqir said Pakistan could have been restricted had his team held on to either of the two chances Ahmed Shehzad provided early in his innings, but was less sure of his attack's ability to contain the South Africa top order when the teams meet on March 12. South Africa have hit two successive 400-plus scores in the past week.
"Against South Africa, it seems the only way we can stop South Africa from scoring 400 is to win the toss and bat, the way they are going," Tauqir joked. "We need to bowl well and field to restrict them. Now, after West Indies and Ireland, conceding 400 is not an embarrassing total. We will be putting a lot of effort into that performance."
Tauqir said his team aimed to run the major nations close not only to prove they belong at the tournament, but also to help grow cricket's following at home. Tauqir and seamer Fahad Alhashmi are the only Emiratis in the squad, which features nine Pakistani nationals, two players born in Sri Lanka, and two born in India.
"Cricket is an expat-dominated sport in the UAE, but I believe our presence in the World Cup will inspire many more Emiratis to follow the game. The kind of infrastructure and facilities we have - it's growing among the Emirati population as well."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando