Abu Dhabi: A half-century by Damian Crowley and three-wicket haul by Gayashan Ranga de Silva Munasinghe saw Italy surprise hosts UAE with a humiliating 67-run defeat in the T20 World Cup qualifiers at the Oval 2 here on Saturday.
The UAE, having already qualified for the next stage, clearly looked a complacent lot throughout the match. Their bowlers lacked the intensity to run through the Italian batting line-up and the batsmen showed no spine or will to stay at the crease and play through the 20 overs. The entire team folded for just 91 in 16.2 overs, chasing 158 to win.
That should not take away anything from the Italy, who bowled with a lot of heart once their batsmen put a competitive total on board, while their fielding was top-class, accounting for some brilliant catches and two run-outs. The victory leaves Italy with an outside chance of qualifying for the next round.
“It was one of those days which we would like to get out of our system as quickly as possible,” said UAE skipper Khurram Khan. “We didn’t bowl well, field well and then if you lose four to five wickets in the first six overs, then I don’t think you have a chance in this format of the game.
“I wouldn’t say it was total complacency. Actually, Italy batted superbly and we were surprised. It was the first time that our main bowlers went for runs and from there on we were struggling. I must say it was complete disaster today. Nothing went our way.”
The overcast conditions prompted Khan to put Italy in after winning the toss but his bowlers, unlike in the previous matches, were toothless on the wicket adjacent to Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
The normally effective medium-pacer Manjula Guruge went for 45 from his four overs, claiming just one wicket, but the biggest disappointment was the normally dependable off-spinner Nasir Aziz, who was carted all around the park and went for 11 an over before finishing with figures of 3-0-35-0.
Leading Italy’s batting was Crowley, who top-scored with a 59 from 49 deliveries that was embroidered with two sixes and three boundaries. Crowley received good support from PA Petricola, who contributed with a 34-ball 38. An unbeaten 20-ball 30 from CS Sandri saw Italy post a challenging total of 158 for 5 in 20 overs.
Canada 117 vs Namibia 120/3
Namibia won by 7 wickets.
Netherlands 130/7 vs Kenya 101/9
Netherlands won by 29 runs.
Nepal 148/8 vs Bermuda 127
Nepal won by 21 runs.
Italy 158/5 vs UAE 91
Italy won by 67 runs.