A frantic week at Al Amerat in Oman saw United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait secure their spots in the 2020 ACC Asia Cup Qualifiers in Malaysia in Sep 2020. Both the countries qualified after winning their respective semifinal clashes in the ACC Western Region T20 against Qatar and Bahrain respectively, with UAE maintaining an unbeaten record in the tournament with five wins in as many games.
The surprise factor in the tournament was when Qatar produced a shocking result to upstage Oman in their first group stage match in the tournament. Qatar would have hoped to top the group if Bahrain had not beaten them in the final game of the group, by virtue of which, not only eliminated Oman’s chances of making into the semifinals, but also went ahead of Qatar on net run-rate to top the points table. UAE and Kuwait did not face such drama in their group as both qualified for the semifinals rather convincingly with Saudi Arabia and Iran not able to provide any upset results during the group stages.
Iran, who made their men’s T20I debut during the tournament, will have a lot to work on for the future tournaments under ACC/ICC after their batting department did not match up to the expectations against their group opponents. Players like Mohammad Yousef, Naeim Bameri, Navid Abdollahpour and Nader Zahadiafzal showed potential and that is a positive that the team will take from their campaign in the Western Region T20.
Maldives, who were in the same group as Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, did not register a win during the group stages, but put up some impressive individual performances during the group stage games, which is definitaly progressive from the performances put up during the 2019 Western Region T20 tournament. Though Maldives team management will be disappointed that players like Nilantha Cooray, Rishwan Mohamed, Adam Umar, Hassan Haziq did not play with enough consistency to create outside chances for a victory in their group stage matches.
Chirag Suri (UAE), Ravija de Silva (Kuwait) and Kamran Khan (Qatar) were the top run-scorers in the tournament, while Muhamed Aslam (Kuwait), Ahmed Raza (UAE), Junaid Siddique (UAE) and Mohammad Nadeem (Qatar) were the top wicket-takers in the tournament.
ACC Western Region T20 Top Run-Scorers
|Chirag Suri||United Arab Emirates||239||5||75||59.75||129.89||3|
|Ravija de Silva||Kuwait||219||5||84*||54.75||164.66||2|
|Rohan Mustafa||United Arab Emirates||161||5||51||40.25||154.8||1|
In the latest ICC T20I team rankings, UAE remain the highest placed team in the gulf region at 15th (186 ranking points), followed by Oman at 18th (174 ranking points), Qatar at 21st (129 ranking points), Saudi Arabia at 24th (115 ranking points), Kuwait at 27th (109 ranking points), Bahrain at 47th (47 ranking points) and Maldives at 76th place (11 ranking points). All countries in the Western Region except UAE and Oman will be taking part in the ICC Asia sub-regional qualifiers later this year towards qualification for 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
ACC Western Region T20 Top Wicket-Takers
|Ahmed Raza||United Arab Emirates||5||9||95||8/2||10.55||5.08||12.44|
|Junaid Siddique||United Arab Emirates||5||9||92||12/4||10.22||5.75||10.66|
|Zahoor Khan||United Arab Emirates||4||7||60||17/3||8.57||4.28||12|
|Iqbal Hussain Chaudhary||Qatar||4||7||91||16/4||13||6.13||12.71|
|Muhammad Awais Malik||Qatar||4||7||101||28/3||14.42||7.76||11.14|
|Sultan Ahmed||United Arab Emirates||5||6||61||9/4||10.16||3.58||17|