Rohan Mustafa helps UAE comprehensively stroll to a big triumph against Ireland
After the major setback of United Arab Emirates trio involvement in corruption, UAE have launched their quest to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2020 with a return to winning ways by thumping Ireland comprehensively by five wickets.
The loss against Oman on Friday came as a surprise but the UAE seems to have picked themselves up after the absence of Mohammad Naveed (former captain), Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed - charged under the ICC anti-corruption code.
"Beating a full member team is a great feeling and on the back of yesterday's game it's a big morale booster for us," remarked UAE captain Ahmed Raza after a morale-boosting win against Ireland.
Paul Stirling, Ireland opener, showed valour and hit a quickfire 72 off 58 balls, but apart from his heroics, nobody else chipped in as the entire team underwent an epic collapse and folded on a paltry 125 with no other batsman surpassing 14.
Rohan Mustafa 4-18 turned the tide for UAE
Rampant Rohan outfoxed Andrew Balbirnie, Harry Tector, Mark Adair and David Delany from his sharp off-spin ploy and also sent Paul Stirling and George Dockrell back in the hut courtesy of some acrobatic fielding.
Rohan Mustafa, the one man army, led the charge from the bat as well by quickly scoring 39 off 16. His bright and breezy knock comprised four coruscating boundaries in the very first over of UAE innings.
The hosts had a little scare in their chase but then a calm cameo of 15 runs from Waheed Ahmed got UAE over the line with 18 balls to spare.
Ahmed Raza, who has taken the reigns of captaincy amidst turbulent circumstances, said in the post-match conference: "I've known Rohan (Mustafa) for over 10 years and I just told him to go and express himself".
An emphatic victory by a resurgent team playing in their own backyard has sent a warning to tournament's favourites.
World Cup qualifier is up and running as 14 nations are involved in a fierce battle to make the cut for World T20 in Australia next year.