Experienced Pakistan A squad levels cricket series with UAE

Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, remained wholly upbeat despite the national team falling to a four-wicket defeat to Pakistan A at the ICC Academy on Thursday, writes Paul Radley.

Mohammad Naveed of UAE plays a shot against Pakistan A team  at the ICC Global Academy at the Dubai Sports City in Dubai on Thursday. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, remained wholly upbeat despite the national team falling to a series-leveling defeat to Pakistan A at the ICC Academy on Thursday.

The UAE had cruised to a six-wicket win over the same opposition in the first of a five-match series 24 hours earlier.

The Pakistan side, which is loaded with senior international experience, hit back, though, with a four-wicket win at Sports City.

Krishna Karate and Mohammed Naveed repaired the damage after a top order collapse, as each posted half-centuries to drag the UAE to 194 all out.

Even though the national team reduced the Pakistanis to 47 for four at the start of their reply, then 80 for five, they were unable to force a second win.

Babar Azam played the seminal innings of the match. The 20-year-old batsman made an unbeaten 80, having already given notice of rich potential at the weekend when he made a hundred against Australia in Sharjah.

“I would say it was a great game,” said Aaqib, the former Pakistan bowling coach.

“It was a good recovery from Krishna and Naveed and that is what shows your team’s strength. I am very happy with the performance because once you are down and your lower order puts runs on the board like that, it is promising.

“There were five early wickets then Babar played an outstanding innings. He looks really good, and Anwar Ali [who made 48] is an experienced player.”

Naveed’s growing influence within the national team is now extending to his batting, too.

The 27-year-old pace-bowler is the spearhead of the bowling attack, but he is making a name for himself as a powerful lower-order hitter as well.

His counter-attacking innings of 56 came off just 38 deliveries and included two huge sixes, and was further evidence of a batting talent that also flourished on the UAE’s recent tour of west Australia..

“He did really well in Australia, also,” Aaqib said of Naveed. “He is really effective as an all-rounder for us.”


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