UAE players should look back at their Asia Cup T20 campaign with a sense of pride. © Getty Images.
UAE players should look back at their Asia Cup T20 campaign with a sense of pride. © Getty Images.

The 9th match of the Asia Cup T20 2016 between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) was always going to be a one-sided affair. After UAE’s losses in the first three group games, it was further reduced to being a dead rubber, thus killing whatever little excitement a fan could have had from the game. On the expected lines, Indians cruised to a victory with just about 10 overs to spare — their biggest in terms of balls left. UAE could not put up any fight as the mighty Indians proved to be a mountain too huge too scale, ending their campaign in the main round with four losses. But despite their defeats, UAE should be happy the way they played in this tournament. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs UAE, Asia Cup T20 2016 Match 9 at Dhaka.

Qualifying for the main round by beating Afghanistan (among others) in the qualifiers in itself was a huge moment. Nobody gave UAE a chance when they landed in Bangladesh to compete with Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Oman. To be honest, UAE themselves were not confident about going beyond the qualifiers. Amjad Javed, their captain, like many of his team-mates, has a full-time job outside cricket. They are not a bunch of professional cricketers like the other teams they were competing with in the main round. A cargo supervisor with Emirates, Javed had applied for only as much leaves to be able to play through the qualifiers, as he perhaps thought his team was not good enough to get past it. FULL CRICKET BLOG: India vs UAE, Asia Cup T20 2016 Match 9 at Dhaka.

But as it happened, Javed had to seek an extension of his leave by another week or so to be able to compete in the main round. His employers happily obliged, knowing their employee had made them and the country proud. He led his side’s attack and picked up four wickets in UAE’s three wins from as many games. However, it was in the Asia Cup mains against the big boys Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan that he brought out his best. In the first game against Sri Lanka, his 3 for 25 restricted the opposition down to 129; had the UAE top-order batted with some sensibility, they could well have won it. Javed scored 13 and tried hard but his team fell short by mere 14 runs in the end. MATCH REPORT: India vs UAE, Asia Cup T20 2016 Match 9 at Dhaka.

Though they lost the first game, UAE did make a statement that they were not here just to make up the numbers. Their next game was against the host Bangladesh, who, after watching the previous game, could not afford to take them lightly. UAE did well to restrict them to 133, but once again faltered with the bat. It was a different story against Pakistan, where at one stage they were very completely on top and had Pakistan on the mat. Batting first, UAE scored 129, thanks to Shaiman Anwar’s 42-ball 46 and Javed’s late cameo of unbeaten 18-ball 27. READ: India’s biggest victory and 10 other statistical highlights from Asia Cup 2016 match between India and UAE at Mirpur.

This was their best chance of getting first win in the main round, as they had not allowed their opposition to go beyond 133 in the previous two games. When they came out to bowl, Javed’s brilliance reduced Pakistan to 17 for 3. But unlike previous occasions, this time they fell short of a bowler rather than batsman and let Pakistan off the hook, who won by not losing another wicket. The match against India held little relevance for fans; and to some extent Team India too. But for UAE, it was their last shot at glory, as they were not going to play a Test playing nation for a long time.

Sadly for them, they were outplayed by a much superior team. In hindsight, they would like to think had certain things been done differently, the results could have been different; had their batsmen played a bit responsibly, they could have got at least one big fish in the net. But they must not blame themselves, or fret over it too much, because they were beaten by the teams that have professional cricketers, who get best of the facilities to train, are paid handsomely and looked after well by set of professionals.

Considering their background and the fact that they do not get to play good sides consistently, they did fairly well. They had their moments against Test-playing teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they should feel proud about it. It is a pity they will not be playing the ICC World T20 qualifiers. Hopefully ICC is taking note and they get their chances sooner rather than later.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricLife and CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)