A late revival with the bat that followed a combined effort by the spinners gave United Arab Emirates a four-wicket win over Scotland in the second match of the UAE tri-nation series in Dubai on Tuesday (January 24).
Batting first, Scotland was bowled out for 173 in 45.2 overs, with UAE's spinners picking up six wickets. UAE was then struggling at 39 for 4 in the chase before Muhammad Usman (45), Adnan Mufti (43*) and Mohammad Naveed (30) played crucial hands to help their side win in 41.5 overs.
After opting to bat, Scotland got off to a solid start but lost its way in the middle. Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer put on 50 for the opening wicket before the arrival of the spinners changed the game. Rohan Mustafa, the offspinner, provided the first breakthrough, bowling Cross in the 10th over.
Imran Haider, the legspinner, capitalised on the breakthrough and struck twice in two overs, accounting for Calum MacLeod (8) and Coetzer. MacLeod was caught behind trying to cut while Coetzer pulled to short midwicket after a promising start.
Things only turned worse for Scotland when Ahmed Raza, the left-arm spinner, trapped Josh Davey and Craig Wallace leg before in two overs, leaving Scotland struggling at 85 for 5 in 20 overs.
Mustafa, Raza and Haider took control in the middle overs, striking at regular intervals to keep Scotland in check. Zahoor Khan, the medium-pacer, also struck late blows to finish with 3 for 17.
But through all this, Richie Berrington, the No. 5, kept Scotland going with a solid half-century. He took 88 balls and hit three boundaries, stitching small partnerships with the lower order to take the team past 150, before being the last man dismissed for an even 50.
UAE began its chase on the wrong note as Scotland's pacers reduced the team to 39 for 4 in the 15th over. Josh Davey and Safyaan Sharif struck twice each, removing Mustafa, Mohammed Qasim, Ghulam Shabber and Shaiman Anwar cheaply to leave UAE struggling.
However Muhammad Usman and Adnan Mufti, the No. 6 and 7 batsmen, combined to revive the chase with a 62-run stand for the fifth wicket. Not only did they provide stability, the duo also picked up Scotland's pace, taking only 77 balls for their stand before Usman fell, caught behind off Brad Wheal in the 27th over.
At 101 for 5, the game was in the balance but Mohammad Naveed pulled it UAE's way with an aggressive 23-ball 30. He hit three fours and two sixes in his breezy knock before being stumped off Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner, with UAE still 32 away. Mufti, though, remained sturdy and took his side past the line without further damage.