x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Khurram Khan rues poor batting as UAE lose to Ireland in Sharjah

The home team are restricted to 165 before Ireland complete run chase in 42 overs in 50-over competition. Paul Radley reports.

Ireland's Ed Joyce hits a four run hit against the UAE during their World Cricket League Championship at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Christopher Pike / The National
Ireland's Ed Joyce hits a four run hit against the UAE during their World Cricket League Championship at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Christopher Pike / The National

SHARJAH // Khurram Khan, the UAE captain, lamented a poor batting display as the national team let slip a chance to gain vital points in the pursuit of a place at the 2015 World Cup.

The UAE sacrificed their 100 per cent record at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the World Cricket League after they subsided to a meagre 165 against Ireland.

The ensuing five-wicket win for the tourists means Ireland's tickets to Australia are as good as booked, while the UAE are stuck in the increasingly congested pack chasing the second qualifying berth.

"I think we were 40 or 50 runs short on this wicket," Khurram said.

"We didn't have the partnerships we had planned for, but this was a really good wicket to bat on."

The UAE came into this fixture with a spirit of quiet optimism still in tact, despite a long toil in the field against the same opponents in a four-day game last week.

As such, they are likely to be extremely disappointed with their listless display with the bat.

There is no shame in being outplayed by an Ireland side who dominate this level of cricket but the UAE's downfall was mostly of their own making.

They had first use of the sort of Sharjah shirtfont that leaves batsmen salivating and bowlers surreptitiously mocking up sicknotes from the doctor.

Yet they then proceeded to implode. The die was cast when they lost three wickets for no run with the score on 39, and each was totally avoidable.

First, Faizan Asif slogged a catch to long on, then Abdul Shakoor played around a straight ball from George Dockrell.

Even Khurram, the masterful captain who played so well in scoring 115 against these bowlers last week, erred as he was bowled when trying to cut a non-turning off-break from Paul Stirling.

The fact they then managed to make rapid incisions in the Ireland top order in return only added to the frustration.

Nasir Aziz, the returning off-spinner, sent back William Porterfield and Ed Joyce in quick succession and Ireland appeared uncharacteristically nervous.

Although Gary Wilson repaired the damage to guide the Irish to victory, the five wicket defeat, it appeared, could have been a win with a little more application at the crease by the UAE batsmen.

"Nasir bowled very well, Kamran Shahzad and Shadeep Silva, too - the only thing we were lacking was the runs on the board to support the bowlers," Khurram said.

"Although we had a chance at one stage, when we took two or three wickets quickly, again there wasn't that much pressure on the batsmen because there weren't enough runs."

Porterfield, Ireland's captain, acknowledged that his own side also need to improve when the two sides meet again tomorrow.

"I thought we bowled and fielded pretty well on a wicket that was just slow," Porterfield said.

"It was always going to be a grind even though we got a decent enough start. I think we got complacent after that. We have to take more responsibility at the top of the batting order."


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