United Arab Emirates captain Mohammed Tauqir on Wednesday said South Africa's shock loss to Pakistan last week had given them a glimmer of hope as they prepare to face the Proteas.
Tauqir joked before South Africa’s 29-run defeat that the only way the UAE could prevent AB de Villiers’ men from scoring 400-plus was to win the toss and bat first.
But he said Pakistan’s win showed the Proteas were not invincible and UAE had taken note ahead of their Pool B match in Wellington on Thursday.
“We were not expecting South Africa to lose against Pakistan, so it’s a funny game. It gave us a bit of hope,” he said.
“We have good bowling and fielding. If we take some early wickets they can be put under pressure. I don’t see them scoring 400 runs against us.”
While the UAE’s emphasis might be on containing South Africa, rather than outright victory, Tauqir said they would play positive cricket.
He said the World Cup had been “a good learning experience for the boys” who are all amateurs and will return to their day jobs after the tournament.
But he echoed calls from other “associate” non-Test playing nations for more matches against cricket’s major nations, saying it was the only way they could improve their game.
“The more exposure we get, the better we become. We cannot learn by just simply watching them on TV,” he said. “We need to play more cricket against them.”
Tauqir also urged the ICC to review its decision to cut the number of teams at the World Cup from 14 to 10 in 2019, saying it risked hindering the game’s development.
“That’s not good news for our cricket… the World Cup is an ultimate goal, to participate in this event,” he said.