Questions arise after UAE’s second failing at tournament

The UAE’s defence of the Asian Cricket Council Premier League title received another blow after a second successive defeat with a loss to Afghanistan for the first time in the 50-over-a-side format.
The UAE, in grey on the left, are off to a slow start in the Asian Cricket Council Premier League, being played in Malaysia, with losses in their opener to Nepal and on Friday to Afghanistan, in blue on the right. Peter Lim / ACC Premier League
The UAE, in grey on the left, are off to a slow start in the Asian Cricket Council Premier League, being played in Malaysia, with losses in their opener to Nepal and on Friday to Afghanistan, in blue on the right. Peter Lim / ACC Premier League

The UAE’s defence of the Asian Cricket Council Premier League title received another blow after a second successive defeat.

Friday the UAE lost to Afghanistan for the first time in the 50-over-a-side format.

They were beaten by 70 runs at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur.

The UAE’s two performances – they lost their opener to Nepal by four wickets with more than 10 overs to spare – raise the question as to whether the country’s cricket is at a crossroads.

Despite having gained One Day International status and qualifying for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the UAE players still have to hold down jobs and their cricket is suffering.

Afghanistan are a professional side and, put in to bat first, they amassed 302 for five, courtesy of four half centuries from Samiullah Shenwari, 82 not out, Mohammed Nabi, 77, Usman Ghani, 55, and Noor Ali Zadran, 53.

The UAE in reply were skittled out for 232 with Amjad Ali falling two short of a maiden ODI century.

Rahmat Shah, the leg spinner, was the pick of the Afghanistan bowling with excellent figures of five for 32 from five-and-a-half overs.

Chasing a 300-plus score was always a daunting task but Amjad (98) and Salman Faris (27) gave them a sound start with a 70-run opening stand in 15 overs.

Faris was first to depart when he was caught at backward point by Dawlat Zadran and then two wickets – Shaiman Anwar (8) and Swapnil Patil (0) – fell within three deliveries to leave the UAE at 83 for three.

Amjad and Khurram Khan, the captain, got their chase back on track with an 86-run stand in 83 balls for the fourth wicket.

Amjad, who batted so well for his 107-ball knock, was trapped in front by Shah, his first of the five wickets with the score at 169.

Mohammed Shahzad (0), promoted up the order, faced only two balls and when Khurram (28) departed at 182, the writing was on the wall for the UAE.

Afghanistan were given a fine start by openers Noor Ali Zadran and Ghani with a 99-run stand and then Shenwari and Nabi, dropped at 16, shared a breezy 125-run partnership for the fifth wicket for their team to recover from 124 for four to put up a challenging total.

However, the shock of the day was Oman’s victory over Hong Kong by nine runs while Nepal made it two out of two after a five-wicket triumph over the host Malaysia.

The UAE and Nepal are joint title-holders as they tied in the competition final – previously known as the ACC Trophy – when it was staged in the Emirates in 2012.

apassela@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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