x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE look forward to action with the top spot at stake

Weather promising for a change as team wait on Saqib Ali's fitness.

The UAE captain Khurram Khan's team are placed third in the table with two matches in hand.
The UAE captain Khurram Khan's team are placed third in the table with two matches in hand.

Khurram Khan, the UAE captain, is hoping there will not be any interruptions when they face the Netherlands in the two one-day games of the ICC World Champions League after a rain-curtailed draw in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup.

It has been a frustrating tour for the UAE with barely two days of play possible and with many of their batsmen not getting an opportunity at the crease.

"Our bowlers had a good work-out in the drawn game but a bit disappointed that our batsmen didn't have the same opportunity under these conditions," Khurram said.

"We are very hopeful though that our batsmen can cope up with those setbacks and play to their true potential."

The Netherlands racked up 308 in the drawn game and Khurram said they could have passed the score had they got the opportunity to bat on the final day which was abandoned without a ball being bowled after 25 millimetres of rain left the field waterlogged.

"We have the depth in batting and I trust they can rise up to any occasion," he said.

"I think the bowlers did very well to get the Netherlands all out on a flat pitch.

"The one-day games would be different as they are more result oriented. The shorter format of the game is also our strength but that doesn't mean we can take any team for granted.

"We respect all our opponents and the Netherlands have some pretty good cricketers. So we need to play our best cricket if we want to win.

"These two games are very crucial for us because if we can win both matches we have an opportunity to take the top spot in the WCL. And everyone in the team is aware of it."

Ireland top the table on 13 points followed by Scotland (11) and the UAE (10) in the eight-team one-day league.

Today's game is in Rotterdam and it would be their first on the surface with Monday's second game to be played at Deventer, the venue of the drawn four-day match.

"We trained at the grounds today and it looks like another flat strip," Khurram said.

"The weather in Rotterdam so far has been excellent from what we experienced so far. So hopefully we will have a full day's play."

Saqib Ali, who was left out of the four-day game because of a recurring knee injury, will have to pass a fitness test on the morning of the match.

Khurram was confident of the all-rounder's return, saying: "He is a very important player and knowing him so well, only under extreme circumstances he can be kept out.

"Yet he has to pass the fitness test which I am sure he will. The team will not be named until the morning of the match."

@apassela@thenational.ae

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