x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Kuwait's Butt and UAE have a field day

The batsman scores third highest total in Twenty20 history while UAE post the highest total of the tournament so far in Chinese demolition.

Butt's bulk of scoring came in boundaries and sixes at a strike rate of 267.
Butt's bulk of scoring came in boundaries and sixes at a strike rate of 267.

ABU DHABI // Khalid Butt took his place in an unlikely but elite club of players in the anals of history when he smashed his way to a 53-ball unbeaten 142 in the Asian Cricket Council's Twenty20 Cup against Bahrain at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Interestingly, the authorities themselves were searching for answers when confirmation was sought about the exact official status of the List A game in the international tournament that will see three teams qualify to play alongside the four sub-continental Test nations at the Asian Games in China next year. Most of the teams have expatriates playing. Regardless of the opposition and stature of the tournament, Butt's feat, comprising 10 sixes and 18 boundaries, was impressive and could have even scored the highest total in the shortest format of the game, had Kuwait not been chasing. Kuwait achieved the daunting target of 175 with the loss of one wicket only thanks to the blitzkrieg from Butt, whose score is only next to 158 not out by Brendon McCullum - playing for Kolkata Knight Riders against Bangalore in the IPL - and the 152 from Essex's Graham Napier against Sussex in the English County Cup.

The UAE posted the highest total of the ACC Twenty20 trophy so far as they demolished China yesterday and booked a place in the semi-finals. The Emirates scored 236 for five with the captain Khurram Khan blasting 64 from 30 deliveries. China's mustered just 27 in reply - with 15 of them extras. Ahmed Raza was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets in his two overs, while the Emirati Fahad al Hashimi claimed two for eight in three overs. "We were not up against the strongest team but I am very pleased with the convincing win and a very disciplined performance," said the UAE coach Colin Wells. "I can't ask for more after winning by more than 200 runs. We grassed a couple of catches and gave away 15 extras in a total of 27." It was the UAE's fourth win in succession and they play Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi tomorrow to decide who finishes top of Group A, with both sides already through to the last four.

"Batting first provided some of the top-order batsmen to have a good look at the pitch ahead of the Afghanistan game," said Khurram, who shared a 99-run stand for the fifth wicket with Fayyaz Ahmed (46 not out in 17 balls). "It was important for the guys to play a few overs on this wicket and the bowlers to have a go, trying to get a few yorkers at the batsmen. It was indeed a good workout for us looking ahead for the match with Afghanistan."

Meanwhile, Afghanistan beat Saudi Arabia by nine wickets in Sharjah yesterday. Mohammed Nabi took four for seven in less than three overs as the Saudis were all out for 67. The Afghans then knocked off the winning runs in eight overs for the loss of one wicket. Oman and Kuwait will meet in Sharjah tomorrow to decide who finishes top of Group B @Email:sports@thenational.ae