Kuwait finishes at second at ACC Western Region T20 Tournament losing to the tournament favorites UAE but qualifies for the final leg of Asia Cup qualifiers scheduled to take place in Malaysia in August 2020
Few finals end up being a cake walk but UAE made it look like one with another superlative performance. Five games and five victories, some of them with a big margin, highlight UAE’s domination of the tournament. Oman, the only team that could have proved to be a real threat, missed the semifinals due to lower net run rate despite winning two of the three Group A games it played.
The two finalists have now qualified to play in the qualifier for the Asia Cup.
Set a target of 200 to win, Kuwait was clearly overawed first by the mountain it had to climb and felt subdued subsequently by the unrelenting aggression and energy of UAE bowlers who made their life miserable in the middle as it could barely manage 98 runs in 20 overs. After the initial onslaught of Muhammed Junaid Siddique, Kuwait was tied in knots by UAE spinners Sultan Ahmed, who claimed 4 for 11 in his four overs, and captain Ahmed Raza, who picked up 2 for 8 in his 4-over spell, bowling an unbelievable 33 dot balls between them in a T20 game. Sultan’s amazing spell fetched him player of the match award which he received from Sultan Rana, ACC’s Events and Development Manager.
UAE captain, all smiles after receiving the winner’s trophy from Kanak Khimji, Chairman of Oman Cricket, said he was happy that his team was able to win the tournament in such an emphatic way.
“We have won the tournament without losing a match and we are happy about it but to be honest we were still looking for one perfect game and it came in the final. It was a clinical performance where we ticked all the right boxes, batting, fielding and bowling amazingly well to outplay Kuwait today,” he said.
“The way we batted was wonderful, Chirag and Rohan giving us a good solid start and then Waheed coming in and hitting all those sixes to lift the target to the magical figure. We bowled exceptionally well to put Kuwait under immense pressure throughout the game. Junaid and Rohan were superb upfront and then the way Sultan and I bowled in the middle overs made things very difficult for Kuwait and they could not break the shackles,” added the UAE captain, saying the five debutants in the tournament would cherish the moment for as long as they played for UAE.
Kuwait failed to match the high intensity, energy and skills UAE brought to the game, looking a shadow of the side that decimated Bahrain in the semifinal a day earlier.
Prolific UAE opener Chirag Suri led the charge upfront, making a brisk 60 to set the tone for a big total on the board. Rohan Mustafa and Muhammed Usman made some useful contributions too, but it wasn’t really until Waheed Ahmed arrived on the crease and started smashing sixes all around the park that UAE looked like soaring to the dizzy heights of a 200-run target. His 15-ball 45 not out included six huge hits over the ropes three of which came off Mohammed Aslam Nawfer, Kuwait’s best bowler in the tournament, who conceded a whopping 57 for 1 in his four overs.
ACC MEN'S WESTERN REGION 2020
FINAL: Kuwait v UAE at OC Turf I
UAE WON BY 102 RUNS
Kuwait won the toss and elected to field
UAE: 199 for 5 off 20 overs (C.Suri 60, W.Ahmed 45*)
Kuwait: 97 for 7 off 20 overs (S.Ahmad 4-11)
Man of the Final: Sultan Ahmad (UAE)