UAE open campaign with breezy victory

United Arab Emirates 221 (Mustafa 95, Ashfaq 50, Vanua 4-39) beat Papua New Guinea 113 (Naveed 5-28) by 56 runs (D/L method)

United Arab Emirates (UAE) kicked off their World Cup Qualifiers campaign on a very positive note, easing past Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a rain-hit encounter in Harare. PNG’s target was revised from 222 to 170 from 28 after a rain break, and they didn’t get close, folding for 113. Seamer Mohammad Naveed contributed much to this slide, taking career-best ODI figures of 5 for 28.

At one point PNG looked in danger of missing out on triple digits, falling to 70 for 8; none of their top five got past 12, and the innings’ top score was 24 from No. 6 Charles Amini who was eventually run out.

It was PNG who chose to chase, and UAE looked like there were keen to make them pay for this decision from the outset. Their openers Rohan Mustafa and Ashfaq Ahmed put on 91 at a brisk pace, but none could kick on to big hundreds. PNG enjoyed some relief after Ashfaq fell for 50 off 56, taking two more quick wickets.

The UAE middle order could not quite get going thereafter, and Mustafa was kept in check too – he eventually fell five short of a hundred, having played out 136 balls. PNG must have felt relieved to have only 222 to chase, given UAE’s start. However, rain and Naveed intervened and spoiled those plans.

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