x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE eye target of 350 runs after Amjad Javed show

Coach Kabir Khan’s plan to promote the all-rounder up the order pays off after Kenya flop with bat in the Intercontinental Cup match at Nairobi.

The UAE have promised to go all out for a win after missing out on the first innings points in their Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya.

The UAE seemed to be in a great position on the second morning of the four-day game after three quick wickets had reduced Kenya to 106 for six. The lower order, however, took the home side past the UAE's first innings score of 213, guaranteeing them the six points for the lead, whatever the result.

Kenya were eventually bowled out for 219, with Amjad Javed taking three for 43, but the medium pacer was to play a bigger role with the bat in the UAE second innings.

Coming to the crease after they had lost three wickets for 31, Javed (66 not out) and Saqib Ali (70 not out) added 124 runs for the fourth wicket, taking the UAE to stumps without any further loss.

The UAE will resume on 155 for three today, 149 runs ahead, hoping to take that score close to 350, which would give them an opportunity to force an outright win. That is their only chance of getting points from this match now.

"We are doing well in the second innings and I hope Amjad and Saqib can carry on and put on as many as possible," Mohammed Lokhandwala, the team manager, said. "We have to try and beat them outright. There is no other chance for us. We have lost those six first innings points. Now we have to aim for the 14 points, which are for an outright win.

"So now we have to try and put up a total of around 350 by tea [today] and then try to bowl them out. The wicket is not helping the bowlers, so it will not be easy. It is a good batting track, so our bowlers will have to come up with a special performance. The first hour will be crucial. If we don't lose a wicket in that period, then I believe we will be on our way."

The first hour proved crucial for Kenya yesterday as they lost three quick wickets. Starting the day at 91 for three, they lost a wicket off the fourth delivery of the day when Tanmay Mishra (one) clipped Javed to Arshad Ali. Shoaib Sarwar struck in the next over, dismissing Dominic Wesonga.

A sixth wicket, Ramesh Mepani, fell at 106 and the UAE seemed to be heading for a first innings lead. But battling knocks from Samarth Patel (30), Hiren Varaiya (27 not out) and Rajesh Bhudia (44) took Kenya past the UAE score.

"Although we got out for a low score of 213, we bowled really well and we thought we might be able to restrict them to less than 213," Lokhandwala said. "That would have given us six points for the first innings lead. Unfortunately, their tail played really well.

"They had some really good partnerships and the last four wickets added 113 runs. They just managed to cross our total by six runs."

The UAE made another disappointing start in their second innings, losing both the openers - Abdul Rehman for two and Arshad Ali for a duck - with only nine on the board. Amjad Ali (16) was also back in the pavilion soon after and the early dismissals prompted UAE to tinker with their batting order. Javed was promoted up the order, ahead of Shaiman Anwar and Khurram Khan, and that proved a masterstroke as he shared a fruitful partnership and Saqib, the top run-scorer in the 2007/08 Intercontinental Cup.

"The coach [Kabir Khan] took a chance by promoting Amjad because he can play some big shots," Lokhandwala said. "So the thinking was that if he played some big shots, the pressure would be on the bowlers. Thankfully, the move clicked. He reached his 50 with a four and hit two really big sixes."