x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Vikrant leads UAE to close win

But Kabir Khan's side could nearly have been beaten by unheralded Kuwait in their Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 opener.

The UAE meet Nepal on Sunday in their second game in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 Cup after they were given a scare by Kuwait on Saturday in their opening match.

After bowling Kuwait out for 135, Khabir Khan's side were 99 for five with five overs left.

It took a well composed innings of 45 not out from 32 deliveries from Vikrant Shetty for the UAE to secure victory in the Group B opener against their less experienced opponents.

Vikrant hit four fours and a six for the UAE to knock off the winning runs for the loss of six wickets with eight balls to spare.

Khurram Khan, the captain, was the pick of the UAE bowling with three for 11 from 3.5 overs. Irfan Ahmed and Ahmed Raza took two wickets apiece.

Faizan Asif, the opener, hit 44 from 33 deliveries and shared a 54-run partnership with Shaiman Butt (11) after the UAE lost opener Bakhtiyar Palekar (10) in the very first over after hitting a six and a four.

Asif departed when the score was 64 and Butt fell eight runs later. Khurram (7) and Amjad Ali (0) fell cheaply, but Shetty held the inning together for Kabir Khan's men to get over their first hurdle.

Nepal held their nerve to clinch a last-ball thriller over Hong Kong in their first game.

The UAE are playing for one of three available spots at next year's qualifying competition for the ICC World Twenty20.

The top three teams in Nepal, in addition to Afghanistan, who are playing in Group A but have pre-qualified, join six Associate teams and seven regional qualifiers in the 16-team qualifier, which will be played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah from March 13 to 24 next year. The top two teams in that competition qualify for the tournament proper in Sri Lanka in September 2012.

apassela@thenational.ae


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