UAE qualified for the 2022 Asia Cup Qualifier after they won the Western Region T20 Competition in 2020, beating Kuwait in the final.
UAE and Asia Cup go a long time back. The first ever Asia Cup, played in Sharjah in 1984, was the first time international cricket was played outside ICC Full Members. An ICC Associate Nation since 1990, UAE first played an ODI against India in the Austral-Asia Cup in 1994. They have won the ACC Trophy on four successive occasions, between 2000 and 2006, and finished runners-up in 1996, 1998 and 2008. Their best finish in the ACC Twenty20 Cup was being finalists in 2009.
UAE also participated in the World Cup, in 1996 and 2015, where they finished second after Scotland in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier. Their other appearances in world events include participating in the 2014 T20 World Cup, where they debuted alongside Nepal and Hong Kong. They hosted the 2021 in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, and have also qualified for the 2022 edition later this year after winning the Qualifier.
They first participated in the Asia Cup in 2004 and then in 2008, but were not invited as the tournament featured only four teams in 2010 and 2012, and five in 2014. They then made a first-round exit in 2016 and did not qualify for 2018.
In the 2020 ACC Western Region T20 competition, they contested for a spot in the Asia Cup Qualifier alongside Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. UAE were placed in Group B with Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. They won all their league games before taking on Qatar in the semi-final.
The low-scoring thriller saw UAE dismissed for 122, with Chirag Suri top-scoring with 38 in 31. However, Qatar were jolted by Junaid Siddique’s four-wicket haul, as they were bowled out for 94. In the final, they smashed 199-5 against Kuwait, with Suri top-scoring again with a 41-ball 60. Kuwait could only manage 97-7 after Sultan Ahmed finished with 4-9 in his four overs.
Read the team preview for Kuwait here.
Delhi-born Suri played for UAE in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup. He made his ODI debut in 2018 and got his T20I cap a few months later. Since then, he has been a regular member of the XI, playing 24 T20Is, having scored 655 runs with six fifties, at a strike rate of 116. Only Shaiman Anwar has scored more runs at a better average than Suri for UAE. In the 2022 IPL auctions, he was picked by eventual champions Gujarat Titans.
UAE captain Raza recently took the first T20I five-wicket haul from his country (5-19 against Nepal this February). It is also the sixth-best figures by a captain in the format. He has picked up 36 wickets in 53 matches with an economy rate of 6.57, and his left-arm spin will have a huge role to play in the Qualifier, which will be played in Muscat.
UAE schedule for 2022 Asia Cup Qualifier:
*All timings local
August 21 – UAE v Kuwait – 6pm
August 22 – UAE v Singapore – 6pm
August 24 – Hong Kong v UAE – 6pm