KUWAIT CITY, April 21: Kuwait defeated Maldives by 102 runs in the opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 Asia Qualifier ‘A’, which rolled into action here on Friday, April 20. The event is featuring six teams including Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Maldives.
The Kuwait Cricket Board, led by the President Haider Farman, welcomed the arriving teams and ICC officials to the State of Kuwait ahead of the tournament. “We are delighted to be hosting the first qualifying group in Asia for the ICC World T-20 2020,” he said. “Whist providing a platform for the development of cricket and a tremendous opportunity for Associate Nations to reach the main event and put themselves on the cricketing map, it also allows us a unique opportunity to continue building relationships, developing role models and generating social partnerships within the cricketing fraternity.”
Additionally, the qualification of Oman from the previous edition of the global event adds extra spice to proceedings. Teams now garner genuine belief in the prospects of reaching the main event, with UAE deservedly placed as favorites. With three teams from the current tournament due to progress to the next round of qualifying, the competition is set to be fierce among the other gulf nations with Kuwait set to take advantage of home conditions against equally competitive teams from Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait coach and former South African team player, Herschelle Gibbs, welcomed the fellow associate nations and spoke of the significant opportunity this presented to the host nation. “For Kuwait to be hosting this prestigious event for the very first time is not only a huge opportunity and privilege but also a gigantic leap forward in growing the sport locally.”
Former England and Scotland international Dougie Brown, who has been coach of the UAE national team since 2017, spoke about his team’s prospects during the tournament, and said that all the teams were very competitive. He called on his team to focus on their own performances and to start the tournament strongly in the first couple of games with consistent performances. “We are very experienced Twenty20 side and that’s the most played format domestically too. Consistent performance is of most importance for UAE team.”
Bahrain captain Fiaz Ahmed said: “We have been preparing for the tournament for more than 2 months and have good combination of right-hand and left-hand batsmen in the team. We want to leave a mark in this tournament” Simon John Gough, the Qatar coach, is confident of the team’s skills and cited good bonding between the players as the team’s strength. Saudi Arabia coach Arron Ward said: “Our team strength is the ability to operate under pressure.” When asked about their closest competitor, he said “our biggest competitors are Kuwait and Qatar.
They are good teams and are up there with us. UAE are standouts for qualification and have the facilities a test nation would be proud to have.”
Fiaz Ahmed (C), Bilal Mansoor, Imran Ali Butt, Numan Yousaf, Imran Javed Anwar, Prashant Kurup, Muhammad Iqbal, Mohammad Sameer, Shahid Mahmood, Shahbaz Badar, Sikder Billah, Waseeq Ahmed, Yasser Nazeer, Zeeshan Abbas. Coach: FB Arulvasagam
Muhammad Kashif (C), Ravija Sandaruwan De Silva Bodadura, Abid Mushtaq, Azmat Ullah, Usman Waheed, Muhammad Ahsan Naseer, Abdul Sadiq, Ali Zaheer, Yasir Idrees Butt, Arjun Makesh, Muhammad Asghar, Imran Ali, Fiaz Ahmad, Sajid Anjillath Rahath Manzil. Coach: Herschelle Gibbs
Ibrahim Hassan (C), Rasheed Hassan Haziq, Muaroof Ahmed Ameel, Saeed Mohamed Saffee, Jaleel Shafraz, Azzam Mohamed, Umar Adam Nasif, Rishwan Mohamed, Nashath Ibrahim, Shahid Abdulla, Mishan Hamid, Ibrahim Rizan, Farhath Yoosuf Azyan, Cooray Mututanthirge Nilantha. Coach: Nasir Ahmed Neesham
Inam Ul Haq (C), Tamoor Sajjad, Zaheeruddeen Ibrahim, Iqbal Hussain Chaudhry, Kamran Khan, Muhammad Nadeem, Muhammad Awais Malik, Mohammed Rizlan Mohammed Iqbar, Noman Sarwar, Qalandar Khan, Khurram Shahzad, Muhammad Tanveer, Faisal Javed Khan, Gayan Buddika Wijeweera Munaweera. Coach: Simon John Gough
Muhammad Afzal (C), Shahbaz Rasheed, Khawar Abbas, Abdul Waheed, Ibrar-ul-Haq, Inayat Saeed, Imran Arif, Faisal Khan, Usman Ali, Abass Saad Abdullah Alnadwi, Mohsin Shabbir Rajput, Afaq Ahmed, Sajid Imran Cheema, Ihsan Ullah. Coach: Arron Ward