Seven months ago in Edinburgh the United Arab Emirates crashed out of the World Twenty20 Qualifier in sixth place in their group, their only win coming against an even more hapless Canadian side. For the rest of the year they were looking a shadow of the team that qualified for the 2014 World Twenty20 and 2015 World Cup.

A narrow five run win against Ireland a week ago seemed like a stroke of luck at the time, but it proved to be a harbinger of what was to come as the Asia Cup Qualifier got underway on Friday. They opened with a surprise win over Afghanistan, following that with an equally surprise win over Hong Kong.

This set them up nicely for the final day, knowing a win over Oman - the surprise package at that Twenty20 Qualifier last year - would secure them qualification for the Asia Cup alongside the region's four full members.

They were put into bat in the match after Oman captain Sultan Ahmed won the toss, but lost Rohan Mustafa early on. An 86 run partnership between Muhammad Kaleem and Mohammad Shahzad for the second wicket got them back on track.

Kaleem brought up his fifty from 39 balls when he ran a single from the last ball of the twelfth over, but was caught from the next ball he faced to end the partnership. Shahzad scored 34 before he was out, whilst Muhammad Usman clubbed 46 from just 22 balls to help take the UAE to 172-6 from their 20 overs. Aamir Kaleem was the pick of the Omani bowlers with 4-36.

Oman, needing to score their runs with plenty of overs to spare, quickly collapsed to 11-3 early on in their innings and never really recovered from there. Zeeshan Maqsood was the only one of their batsmen to make any sort of impact with an innings of 46.

Mohammad Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed both took two wickets as Oman were restricted to 101-8 to lose by 71 runs.

Earlier in the day Afghanistan had beaten Hong Kong by 66 runs to give them a chance of reaching the Asia Cup, but the UAE win later put paid to that.

UAE will now play their third Asia Cup, having taken part in the ODI events in 2004 and 2008. Their first match will be against Sri Lanka on Thursday. For the other three teams, preparation for the World Twenty20 begins in earnest, with warm-up games starting in two weeks time.


Afghanistan beat Hong Kong by 66 runs
Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, 22 February
Afghanistan 178-7 (20 overs, Najibullah Zadran 60, Asghar Stanikzai 49, Aizaz Khan 3-38)
Hong Kong 112 (17.1 overs, Anshuman Rath 41, Mohammad Nabi 4-17)

United Arab Emirates beat Oman by 71 runs
Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, 22 February
United Arab Emirates 172-6 (20 overs, Muhammad Kaleem 50, Muhammed Usman 46, Aamir Kaleem 4-36)
Oman 101-8 (20 overs, Zeeshan Maqsood 46)