DHAKA - United Arab Emirates entered the main draw of the Asia Cup after a convincing 71-run win against Oman in Dhaka. UAE won all three of their qualifying matches to finish first on the points table and book their berth.

Oman were still alive going into the last match of the qualifying group, but had to chase the target in 13.5 overs after opting to bowl. UAE just needed a win to qualify.

Oman were given a boost in the second over after Rohan Mustafa was run-out after failing to slide his bat into the crease. The innings was quickly resurrected by Mohammad Shahzad, who struck a fifty in the previous game, and Muhammad Kaleem. The pair added 86 in 65 balls to set a strong platform for the middle order. Sufyan Mehmood, drafted in for this game, removed Kaleem for a 40-ball 50.

Left-arm spinner Aamir Kaleem brought his side back into the contest with two wickets in three balls in the 14th over, dismissing Shahzad and Shaiman Anwar. However, the momentum swung again as Muhammad Usman played a match-turning cameo to lift his side to 172 for 6. He plundered 35 off his last 10 balls and finished with an unbeaten 46 off 22, an innings that featured six fours and two sixes. His innings earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. Aamir Kaleem took two more wickets in the final over to finish with figures of 4 for 36.

Oman's hopes of qualification were dashed within seven overs of the chase, as they were reduced to 38 for 5 in the search for quick runs to get ahead on net run-rate. UAE took two more wickets in the next four overs to effectively kill the match. The rest of the innings was a formality as Oman crawled to 101 for 8 in 20 overs. Zeeshan Maqsood offered resistance with a 42-ball 46 but no other batsman crossed 15. Fast bowler Mohammad Naveed was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-1-14-2.

Afghanistan out despite big win: Career-best T20I performances from Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi ensured that Afghanistan stayed in the hunt for the main draw of the Asia Cup , but only briefly as UAE won the second match later in the day. Najibullah muscled 60 not out off 35 balls to lead Afghanistan to 178, which they defended with ease, thanks to Nabi's four-for.

Hong Kong's openers blasted off in the chase, reeling off 50 by the sixth over. But Nabi soon struck with his third ball to break the thriving stand when he pinned Kinchit Shah lbw for 29. Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat kept Hong Kong ticking before they collapsed in a heap; losing the last nine wickets for only 33 runs.

Nabi used his flight and variations in pace, having three batsmen holing out to big hits. He finished with figures of 4 for 17, a match-winning spell that included 12 dots. Nabi was complemented by the googlies and quick fizzers of 17-year old Rashid Khan who scalped two wickets. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran put the seal on the win when he had Tanwir Ahmed lbw for a duck. Shapoor Zadran, brought back in place of spinner Amir Hamza, however, managed only one wicket. Each of Hong Kong's batsmen barring the top three were left nursing single-digit scores.

The victory, though, was set up by Najibullah who stroked his maiden T20I fifty. His effort gave Afghanistan the impetus in the middle and at the death as they took 52 from the last four overs. Najibullah was particularly severe on seamer Aizaz Khan, plundering two sixes off the penultimate over; both sent sailing over cow corner.

Opener Mohammad Shahzad and captain Asghar Stanikzai had done the early running. Shahzad unleashed his familiar hoicks and swipes during his 14-ball 24 before falling in the fourth over. Stanikzai was brisk, if not as quick as Shahzad, scoring 49 off 35 balls, including four fours and three sixes.

Nabi and Gulbadin Naib were then undone by Aizaz in the 17th over, but Najibullah took charge before Nabi's offbreaks derailed the chase.

BRIEF SCORES:

United Arab Emirates 172 for 6 (M Kaleem 50, Usman 46, Aamir Kaleem 4-36) beat Oman 101 for 8 (Maqsood 46, Naveed 2-14) by 71 runs

Afghanistan 178 for 7 (Najibullah 60*, Stanikzai 49, Aizaz 3-38) beat Hong Kong 112 (Rath 41, Nabi 4-17) by 66 runs