x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Iqbal makes light work of Saudi Arabia

Batsman presses his claim as one of Asia's most brutal 20-over players outside of the Test sphere with a destructive second half-century in three days.

AL DHAID // Mohammed Iqbal continued to press his claims as one of Asia's most brutal 20-over batsmen outside of the Test sphere with a second half-century in three days in the ACC Twenty20 Trophy. The Fly Emirates batsman has been in prime form in the UAE's three matches so far, and his quick-fire 71 not out helped them make light work of Saudi Arabia yesterday. It followed knocks of 67 and 42 in the previous two matches for a batsman who had been overlooked for selection the last time the UAE were involved in international competition.

"Iqbal and Amjad Javed are two of the most destructive openers in the competition," said the UAE head coach Colin Wells. "They are both as free-scoring as each other and they complement each other as they hit the balls to slightly different places. "I am very pleased with his form, so let's hope it continues." Earlier, left-arm seamer Moiz Shahid continued his impressive start to international cricket with a fine showing with the new ball.

Shahid, who was not even part of the UAE's original extended training squad, picked up two wickets for three runs from his three overs. The vice-captain, Mohammed Tauqir, then took two for 11 as the Saudis laboured to reach 101 for six by the end of their allotted overs. The ensuing nine-wicket win, secured with a full nine overs to spare, maintained the UAE's 100 per cent record in the 20-over tournament.

At the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Mohammad Nabi provided evidence of why he once earned a scholarship to play for the MCC Young Cricketers at Lord's in a powerful display for Afghanistan. The all-rounder hit a 65 in 31 balls, an innings that was laden with six maximums, and then took two wickets for the defending champions. On the back of his efforts, the Afghans secured a comprehensive 120-run win over Hong Kong, who were one of the pre-tournament favourites and the current ACC Trophy 50-over holders.

Oman, who were runners-up to Afghanistan two years ago, continued their own serene progress with a 12-run win over Nepal. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae