x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE beat Hong Kong to lift ACC Premier League campaign

Tournament hosts Malaysia up next as UAE try to climb up ACC Premier League table

Khurram Khan, pictured during an ICC Twenty20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on March 12, 2014, picked up their first win of the ACC Premier League over winless Hong Kong. Munir uz Zaman / AFP
Khurram Khan, pictured during an ICC Twenty20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on March 12, 2014, picked up their first win of the ACC Premier League over winless Hong Kong. Munir uz Zaman / AFP

The UAE clinched a dramatic two-wicket win over Hong Kong on Sunday on a day in which Afghanistan and Nepal were surprise losers to the Associate minnows Malaysia and Oman in the Asian Cricket Council Premier League.

Fayyaz Ahmed (37 not out) and the lower order played a key role for the UAE to rally from 93 for seven in chasing 157 for their first win in three games yesterday at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur.

Khurram Khan, the captain, was elated with his team’s recovery after they had looked in deep trouble in their run chase.

“To start with, the fast bowlers did an excellent job for us. They bowled more than 32 overs between them and took eight wickets. It was the first time they found a good line and length,” Khurram said.

“Thereafter, our lower order batsmen showed real character to get us over the line. They batted really well under pressure.

“Now that the confidence is back, we can look forward for the remaining two games more positively.”

Mohammed Shahzad, the man of the match, was the pick of the UAE bowlers with four for 26 from 10 overs, and his efforts were one of the highlights for Khurram.

“We travelled with five new players and the experiment paid off today. Shahzad is one of them,” he said. “We need to provide more playing opportunities and blood some youngsters to create a bigger squad ahead of our 2015 World Cup [in Australia and New Zealand] campaign.

“We are preparing for the World Cup in 10 months and we have the one-day international status for the next four years. So this is a good opportunity to groom more players.”

The UAE did not get off to a good start in pursuit of 157, with Khurram among the batsmen to fall cheaply as they slipped to 24 for three.

Opener Amjad Ali (39) and Shaiman Anwar (22) rebuilt the innings with a 48-run stand for the fourth wicket before another collapse left them reeling at 97 for seven.

Fayyaz and Ahmed Raza (17) added 29 for the eighth wicket, and Mohammed Naveed (14 not out) chipped in with a valuable knock to take them through with nine balls to spare.

“Amjad provided a good knock at the top and then Fayyaz, Ahmed and Nadeem batted really well for us down the order,” Khurram said.

Oman continued their giant-killing performances, remaining the only unbeaten team after three games. Aamir Kaleem grabbed four for 36 from 10 overs for Oman to bowl out Nepal for 157.

Oman were struggling at 104 for seven before an unbroken ninth wicket stand between Sultan Ahmed (32 not out) and Amir Ali (14 not out) got them home for a two-wicket win.

Malaysia skittled out Afghanistan for 175 and knocked off the winning runs for the loss of seven wickets, with 13 overs to spare.

apassela@thenational.ae

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