United Arab Emirates 174-6 (Muhammad Usman 45, JH Davey 2 for 17) beat Scotland 173 (RD Berrington 50, Zahoor Khan 3 for 17) by 4 wickets.

Scotland’s Tri-Nation Series ended with a four-wicket defeat to UAE at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium as despite a half-century from Richie Berrington 3-17 from Zahoor Khan, together with a return of 3-36 from Imran Haider on his ODI debut, condemned Grant Bradburn’s side to their second loss of the tournament.

Scotland’s innings was to follow the pattern set in the defeat to Hong Kong two days previously as a good start from captain Kyle Coetzer (30) and Matthew Cross (24) was undone by regularly falling wickets. UAE’s spin trio of Haider, Ahmed Raza (2-19) and Rohan Mustafa (1-38) did the damage as Scotland went from 50-0 in the tenth over to 98-6 in the twenty-third.

It was left to Berrington to try to hold the remainder of the innings together. A partnership of 40 for the eighth wicket with Mark Watt (15) stemmed the tide for a while but despite the Clydesdale man completing a battling fifty Scotland lost their last four for 47 as they fell away to 173 all out with more than four overs to spare.

That the chase was not going to be plain sailing for the UAE batsmen became apparent at the start of the second innings, however, as Scotland’s bowlers brought their side back into the game. Two wickets each for Josh Davey (2-17) and Safyaan Sharif (2-24) reduced UAE to 39-4 in the fifteenth over, and Scotland, with fresh hope, looked to press home their sudden advantage.

But it was the contrasting performance of the Emirates middle order which was to see them over the line as a 62-run stand between Muhammad Usman and man-of-the-match Adnan Mufti (43*) put the game beyond reach.

“We were 50-0 a cluster of wickets put us under a bit of pressure,” Coetzer said later. “[We were] clearly a few runs short. It was a fantastic fighting effort from Richie, but the top order just missed out.

“Going into the second half, it was a grafting effort from the bowlers [but we were] just missing that half chance that would have put them on the back-foot.”

The Tri-Nation Series will conclude on Wednesday in a winner-takes-all match between Hong Kong and UAE in Dubai. Scotland, though, will leave the Emirates to reflect on eleven days which have brought a contrasting series of results but much-needed preparation time in the middle. 

UPCOMING FIXTURE (GMT): 24 January – UAE v Hong Kong (6.00)