The United Arab Emirates finished a terrible week which saw three of their players charged with corruption with an impressive victory over Ireland in qualifying for the 2020 T20 World Cup.
The hosts of the tournament had opened their campaign with a loss to Oman on Friday in Abu Dhabi.
But they bounced back on Saturday, despite being without the charged trio of captain Mohammed Naveed, batsman Shaiman Anwar and right-arm pace bowler Qadeer Ahmed, beating the Irish by five wickets.
“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,” said UAE skipper Ahmed Raza after his team beat the only Test side in qualifying.
Ireland opener Paul Stirling struck a 58-ball 72, but Gary Wilson’s men were bowled out for just 125 as no other batsman passed 14 in their 20 overs.
Off-spinning all-rounder Rohan Mustafa took 4-18 for the home team.
The UAE, who themselves had mustered only 108-9 against Oman, made a quick start thanks to Mustafa’s 39 from 16 deliveries, including four fours in the first over.
They had a brief wobble but were seen over the line with three overs to spare by Waheed Ahmed’s unbeaten 15.
“I’ve known Rohan (Mustafa) for over 10 years and I just told him to go and express himself,” added Raza.
In all, 14 nations are vying for six places at next year’s World T20 in Australia by playing in the round-robin qualifiers.
Earlier on Saturday, Nigeria made their qualifying bow with a 69-run loss to Jersey.
The African side, playing in the event due to Zimbabwe’s suspension by the ICC which was lifted earlier this week, stumbled to 115-7 chasing 185 to win.
“One hundred and eighty on a track like this was still gettable and when we had them 80 for three we thought we had the match in control,” said Nigerian captain Ademola Onikoyi.
“There were one or two batsmen that took it away from us.” Scotland bounced back from their shock opening loss to Singapore, seeing off Kenya by 31 runs in Dubai. (AFP)