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Cricket World Cup 2015

Mahmudullah first Bangladesh batsman to score World Cup century

Bangladesh set England 276 to win

England's paceman Stuart Broad (C) falls to the ground as Bangladesh batsmen Soumya Sarkar (R) and Mahmudullah (L) run between wickets during the Pool A 2015 Cricket World Cup match between Bangladesh and England at the Adelaide Oval on March 9, 2015. (AFP)

Porterfield expects no India favours for Ireland

Ireland overcame Zimbabwe in a tense affair during last outing

Ireland cricketer William Porterfield celebrates after their win at the Bellerive Oval ground during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between Ireland and Zimbabwe in Hobart on March 7, 2015. (AFP)

Bangladesh's Mortaza wary of England backlash

Win for Tiger will send Morgan's side crashing out

Bangladesh players Mashrafe Mortaza (left) and Taskin Ahmed jog during a training session ahead of their 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool A match against England at Adelaide Oval on March 8, 2015. (AFP)

Patience pays off for Pakistan-born UAE batting star Khurram Khan

UAE side is made up of amateur players

Cricket has always been a sport that has rewarded patience, even in the souped-up version of the one-day game, but few players at the World Cup have had to wait longer for their big break than the evergreen United Arab Emirates batsman Khurram Khan.

At 43, he and UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir are the oldest players in the tournament.

Unlike most of the teams at the World Cup, the UAE side is made up of amateur players, who fit their cricket training and matches around their full-time jobs.

Opportunities are few and far between and only the most determined and dedicated survive.

Khurram, who works as a flight purser for Emirates airlines, has often flirted with the idea of retiring but the lure of playing at the World Cup proved irresistible.

There were no guarantees the UAE would qualify this time. The only previous time the UAE had appeared at the World Cup was almost two decades ago in 1996, but Khurram rolled the dice and pushed on, keeping himself fit by doing push-ups on long-haul flights when he wasn't attending to passengers.

Born in Pakistan, he moved to UAE in 1999 and made his ODI debut for his adopted country in 2004. By the start of 2014, he'd only played four fully recognised ODI matches, such are the limited chances for countries with associate status.

Unperturbed, he pressed on and his perseverance finally paid off when UAE qualified for the 2015 World Cup, largely thanks to his contributions with the bat.

Khurram was the leading runscorer at the World Cup qualifying tournament in New Zealand, piling up 581 runs at an average of 72.62.

Then in November, he became the oldest player to score a ODI hundred, making an unbeaten 132 against Afghanistan, and moving to the top of a distinguished list of oldest centurions that includes Sanath Jayasuriya, Geoff Boycott and Sachin Tendulkar.

Despite having captained UAE for the last decade, the Emirates Cricket Board wanted a locally-born player to skipper the side at the World Cup, so demoted to Khurram to vice-captain and gave Tauqir the top job.

Unfazed, Khurram said he was just happy to have realised his lifelong dream by getting the chance to compete at cricket's greatest spectacle.

"I understand that. I am just happy to be here," he told reporters when he arrived in Australia.

"I am having the best time of my life, to be honest. Cricketing-wise, if you see my performance the last couple of years, it is amazing and I am enjoying every moment of it." 

CRICKET World Cup 2015 : Fixtures

Wednesday March 18-1st Quarter-final
Thursday March 19 -2nd Quarter-final
Friday March 20 -3rd Quarter-final
Saturday March 21 -4th Quarter-final
Tuesday March 24 -1st Semi-Final
Thursday March 26 -2nd Semi-Final
Sunday March 29 -FinalTBC7.30amTBC

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