Mark Chapman of New Zealand isn’t surprised by what he’s seen of the UAE in the opening two games. Following a tight defeat in the first T20I, UAE ultimately defeated New Zealand in the second T20I in Dubai, earning possibly their largest triumph across white-ball formats.
Chapman led the way with 63 off 46, but New Zealand’s 142/8 was insufficient on the night.
“I think we’ve seen associate cricket go from strength to strength,” Chapman said following New Zealand’s seven-wicket defeat. “The T20 World Cup in Australia demonstrated this, with some associate nations defeating some Test nations.”
“It’s not surprising given the way they’ve played and the confidence they’ve shown in some really strong local tournaments here.” It’s creating some talented people.”
New Zealand were not at their best throughout the game, first scrambling against teenage spinner Aayan Afzal Khan (3 for 20) to a below-par total and then finishing with three missed catches, allowing UAE captain and top-scorer Muhammad Waseem to escape twice.
“I think, similarly to the first game, we lost wickets throughout and weren’t able to establish any partnerships and put some pressure back on the bowling,” Chapman explained.
“A similar theme (in this second match) where we had to scrape together a score and it just showed it probably wasn’t enough on that wicket.”
Waseem gushed about Aayan. “He is a future UAE star,” he declared. “The most important thing is that he never buckles under pressure, no matter who he bowls against.”
“We are overjoyed. We played against a Test-playing team, New Zealand, and defeated them. Our bowlers did an excellent job, and our batters were able to complete the match. Hopefully, we’ll be able to win again tomorrow.”
Waseem also praised the audience for their support and encouraged more people to attend the decider.
“The crowd has been fantastic throughout the first two games. We lost the first game, but we were able to finish it today. The crowd’s support was incredible, and we hope to see many more people for our last game.”