x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Khan leaves Namibians grounded

Khurram Khan's batting masterclass sets the platform for the UAE's thrilling four-wicket win in Windhoek in the first ICC Intercontinental Shield match.

As a flight purser for Emirates airline, Khurram Khan is quite capable of boarding a plane by himself. But Namibia's bowlers are likely to escort him right up to the terminal gate when he and his UAE teammates are finally due to leave their country, following his latest batting masterclass. They must be sick of the sight of the UAE captain, whose 109 on Tuesday set the platform for his side's thrilling four-wicket win in Windhoek in the first ICC Intercontinental Shield match.

It was his second hundred in successive games against the Namibians, after plundering the same attack all over the University of Pretoria ground in the World Cup qualifier in March. That effort came in a dead rubber, but this was an innings of great substance as the tourists chased down 311 in the dying minutes of the final session of the four-day match. They may be strangers to the format, but the UAE's staple diet of 50-over and Twenty20 cricket served them well as they pulled off a classic smash and grab raid.

Having sacrificed a 62-run lead on first innings, Khurram's side faced a sizable challenge. Mohammed Tauqir, the Emirati off-spinner who has impressed on his return to the side, tilted the balance their way with five wickets and a run out. Victory was still a distant prospect as the UAE had their second chance with the bat, but Khurram's vigil laid the foundation. Then it was left to Amjad Javed and Fayyaz Ahmed, two all-rounders capable of monstrous feats of hitting, to get them over the finishing line.

Javed made 35 from 15 balls, including four sixes, while Fayyaz hit an even paced 52. pradley@thenational.ae