x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Shoaib Sarwar bowling efforts in vain as UAE fall short in Kenya

Shoaib Sarwar's five-wicket haul went in vain as the UAE opened their Intercontinental Cup tour of Kenya with a 66-run defeat in Nairobi.

UAE’s Shoaib Sarwar has matured as a cricketer.
UAE’s Shoaib Sarwar has matured as a cricketer.

Shoaib Sarwar's five-wicket haul went in vain yesterday as the UAE opened their Intercontinental Cup tour of Kenya with a 66-run defeat in Nairobi.

Sarwar, 24, celebrated his return to international cricket with a career-best five for 23 as Kenya were bowled out for 210 after choosing to bat first.

The UAE batsmen, however, failed to follow-up on a good bowling performance, losing their first four wickets with only 11 on the board.

They were 119 for eight after 35 overs when rain brought the 50-over game to a premature end, with the visitors well short on the Duckworth-Lewis calculations.

"After a good start when we picked up three quick wickets for 20-odd, they had a really good partnership," said Mohammed Lokhandwala, the team manager.

"We bowled well to restrict them to what was a [reasonable] target.

"Unfortunately, our batsmen followed the same route as the Kenyan batsmen, committing the same mistakes. With five of your batsmen gone for a few on the board, it is really difficult to make a comeback."

Sarwar made Kenya rue their decision to bat first with two early blows. Rakep Patel, who batted for 16 deliveries without scoring, was the first to go, caught by Bakthiyar Palekar.

Collins Obuya, the captain and a veteran of 92 one-day internationals, was out for just one, edging to Khurram Khan. Two down for 15, Kenya lost a third wicket six runs later when Amjad Javed found the edge of Runish Gudhka's bat.

Tanmay Mishra (66) and Rajesh Varsani (57), however, stalled the UAE's charge in a 133-run partnership for the fourth wicket

"I believe Sarwar has matured as a bowler," Lokhandwala said. "He was picking up a couple of wickets [in the past], but he was not getting the big hauls. Today, he bowled really well, keeping the ball up and working up a good speed. He moved the ball around and kept bowling in the right channels. It was his first five-wicket haul, so hats off to him."

The UAE take on the hosts again today in another 50-over match before they start the four-day Intercontinental Cup contest from Thursday.

Lokhandwala is hoping Sarwar can keep his good form going and that the batsmen will pick up their game.

arizvi@thenational.ae