x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Aziz spins hosts to victory and an easier turnaround

Nasir Aziz takes five more as UAE take just two days to beat Namibia in four-day Intercontinental Cup match.

SHARJAH // The UAE bought themselves two extra days of rest and recuperation ahead of a weekend which could define the future of the sport here by thrashing Namibia in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

The national team clinched a nine-wicket win over a youthful African side within the space of two days.

The haste with which victory was clinched means they have two spare days to relax – or more likely return to their desks – before Friday’s serious business starts for the mostly working amateurs.

The UAE face the same opposition in 50-over matches on Friday and Sunday.

If the hosts win both, then Afghanistan lose one of their pair of matches against Kenya next week, the national team will likely qualify for the 2015 World Cup.

If the evidence of this first-class match was anything to go by, the national team will feel confident of keeping up their part of the equation.

After routing the Namibians for just 90 on the opening morning, the home bowlers were similarly dominant on Tuesday. Nasir Aziz took five wickets, taking his tally to 27 wickets in his past six matches in all cricket for the national team, as the tourists fell for 155 in their second innings.

The rapid success also meant Namibia’s young players were deprived an extended practice on a Sharjah pitch that was uncharacteristically difficult to bat on.

“Normally you don’t expect Sharjah wickets to play like that, but this is a newly laid pitch,” said Khurram Khan, the UAE captain. “It turned, was keeping low and because we have good spinners who were bowling wicket to wicket, it was a little hard for their young team.

“I don’t think it will change too much by Friday, and if it turns again, obviously we have strength in that department.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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