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UAE ‘qualify’ as hosts Kuwait strengthen grip on playoff spot

Qatar down Saudi Arabia by four wickets

A photo taken during the ICC World Twenty20 Asia Qualifier A match

KUWAIT CITY, April 25: UAE beat Maldives by 43 runs to qualify for the next round. At the SCG, UAE won the toss and elected to bat first. Maldives started brilliantly by picking up UAE opener Ashfaq Ahmed in the first over and Chirag Suri soon after in the 3rd over. UAE struggled at 35 for 4 at the end of 6 overs against a rejuvenated bowling attack of Maldives.

Key contributions from Mohammad Usman 43 runs in 53 balls and Mohammad Boota 35 runs in 29 balls helped UAE post a total of 123 runs. Maldives bowlers were very economical throughout the innings as Umar Adam gave ony 14 runs in his 4 overs and Azyan Farhat picked up 2 wickets for 15 runs in his four overs. Maldives started with an intent to score quick runs and put more pressure on UAE, however lost their key man Cooray departed in the 2nd over. Hassan Rasheed seemed to step up and carry on the Maldives chase, but he perished scoring 17 runs. Maldives middle order collapsed against the experienced bowling attack of the UAE and Maldives were all out for 80 runs. UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa picked up 3 wickets in his 4 overs. Mohammad Usman was declared man of the match.

Hosts Kuwait faced Bahrain, at Doha, in their quest to reach the playoffs for the qualifying spot. Kuwait won an important toss and decided to bat first. Once gain Kuwait could not put up an opening stand as skipper Mohammad Kashif departed without scoring. Kuwait took a cautious approach and started to build partnership, however they lost the second wicket on 35 in 7th over and 3rd wicket soon after when the score was 38 runs. A 49 runs partnership between Ali Zaheer (26 runs) and Arjun Makesh (26 runs) gave some respite to the Kuwait team as Kuwait posted 100 runs in 17th over.

Yasser Idris looked to fire it up as he added a quick 15 in 9 balls which provided an impetus to Kuwait innings. Sajid Manzil 11 runs in 3 balls and Ravija sandaruwan 34 in 9 balls hammered 45 runs in the last 2 overs to post a respectable 153 runs for Bahrain to chase. Bahrain started well but they were quickly 2 down for 29 runs in 4.3. A 48 run partnership between P Kurup (43 runs) and Mohammad Sameer (18 runs) kept Bahrain in the hunt before Mohammad Sameer was picked up by Abdul Sadiq.

Man of the Match Arjun Makesh playing his second match for Kuwait proved pivotal by picking up 4 important wickets giving away only 21 runs in his 4 overs. Bahrain lost by 23 runs. In the other afternoon game at SCG, Qatar won the toss and decided to field first against Saudi Arabia. Saudi opener Faisal Khan looked in great touch as he scored 29 off 20 deliveries. Qatar put the brakes on Saudi scoring by picking up wickets at regular intervals. Saudi were 4 for 56 after 8 overs. Shahbaz Rasheed scored 36 runs in 32 balls helping Saudi to reach 133 runs in the allotted 20 overs.

Chasing 135 Qatar lost opener Imran Arif without scoring. Faisal Javed Khan looked to attack and scored 18 of just 8 deliveries. Tamoor Sajjad and Zaheer Ibrahim scored 35 runs each for setting up an exciting finish. Qatar were 6 down for 109 and needed 26 runs with four wickets in hand. Qatari batsmen Khurram Shahzad and Noman Sarwar partnered to gather the required 29 runs with one over to spare. Tamoor Sajjad was declared Man of the Match.

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