x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Khurram Khan gives UAE boost ahead of Intercontinental Cup

UAE beat Kenya for the first time in 10 years to level the 50-over series in Nairobi.

The UAE received a major confidence boost ahead of their four-day Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya when Amjad Ali and Khurram Khan anchored the visitors to a commanding four-wicket win, their first in 10 years over the opponents, in Nairobi yesterday.

Having lost the first 50-over match of the tour by 66 runs on Monday, the UAE seemed to be facing an uphill task when Kenya, who enjoy one-day international status and are ranked No 13 in the world, put 230 for nine on the board.

Amjad (60), however, made a fast start, and then the captain Khurram (65 not out) took the team across the finish line with 3.2 overs to spare.

"It has been 10 years since we beat them, so this is a fantastic achievement for us," said Mohammed Lokhandwala, the team manager.

"It is a very big thing and it will help us in the rankings, as well.

"We were really confident and determined to win this game. In the first game, we messed up, but today was a really good day for us."

Amjad and Khurram's duet stole the spotlight from a brilliant century by Rakep Patel for Kenya.

The opener, dismissed for a 16-ball duck on Monday, smashed a 154-ball 124 yesterday, partnering eight batsmen during his innings, which included nine fours and six maximums.

Patel added 111 for the third wicket with Tanmay Mishra, in only 22 overs, after the hosts had lost Runish Gudhka (three) and captain Collins Obuya (nine) early on.

Mishra, who had resurrected the Kenya innings in the first match with a 133-run partnership alongside Rajesh Varsani, compiled his second consecutive half-century in a 67-ball innings of 51.

Those two topped the scoring charts as Kenya put a challenging target on the board.

For the UAE, Saqib Ali was the most successful bowler, taking three for 28.

The visitors, who had lost their first four wickets for only 11 chasing 211 on Monday, made a positive start to the run-chase despite losing Bakthiyar Palekar (eight) early.

That dismissal brought Amjad to the crease and he played a blistering 63-ball knock.

Amjad dominated an 85-run partnership with Arshad Ali (23) for the second wicket, but these two and Saqib (11) were back in the pavilion in the space of 22 deliveries and 17 runs.

A 75-run association between Shaiman Anwar (34) and Khurram for the fifth wicket helped stem the rot and the UAE captain then got the remaining 46 runs in the company of Abdul Rehman (11) and Amjad Javed (four not out).

Khurram said that in the first match "we performed badly so it was essential that we come back today. Everybody chipped in and we had a really good team show".

arizvi@thenational.ae