Saqib Ali eyes early inroads against Scotland after UAE fail with bat

Scotland bowl UAE out for 100 before ending first day's play on 121 for five in their ICC Intercontinental Cup game on Thursday.

Majid Haq was the best batsman yesterday, scoring 28 runs for Scotland in Sharjah.
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The UAE national side will be pinning their hopes on an early breakthrough on Friday if they are to fight their way back into their ICC International Cup match with Scotland.

The UAE were bowled out for just 100 in their first innings on Thursday and the visitors were 121 for five at close of play on Thursday night.

The UAE's chances of playing their way back into the match were improved by Amjad Javed, who claimed the wicket of Freddie Coleman for 20 in the final over of the day.

The medium pace bowler had earlier taken the wicket of Majid Haq, trapped lbw for 28.

Scotland will go out to bat on Friday with a lead of 21 runs with five wickets remaining, but Saqib Ali is confident the national side can peg them back if they play to their potential.

"We lost too many wickets when the ball was swinging and did a little bit in the first hour," said Saqib, who is playing for his first game for the national side since suffering a knee injury in a friendly against the West Indies in October.

"Had we survived that session, it could have been different. We lost three wickets in five overs and that put us in this situation.

"I think we still did well to end the day by taking five Scotland wickets.

"And if we can get them out early on the second day and then bat for as long as possible, we still have a chance to win this game, because we have good spin bowlers who can be very effective in the last two days.

"It will not be easy for Scotland to bat against our spinners. I guess, if we can get a lead of 230, there is a game on."

The UAE were shot out for 100 in little more than 40 over after electing to bat.

Gordon Goudie and Safyaan Sharif blew away the UAE's top order by claiming three wickets apiece.

Saqib returned from a knee injury he suffered in a friendly against the West Indies in October. His first game on his return was for the ICC Invitation XI against England in a two-day warm-up match in mid January and the next was a 50-over-a-side warm up game against Afghanistan, in which he scored 67, at the Sharjah stadium on February 7.

Saqib, who began his comeback from injury by playing for the ICC Invitation XI against England in a two-day warm-up match in mid January and then scored 67 in a 50-over warm up game against Afghanistan in Sharjah on February 7, was fourth out at 27 when he made 11 off 17 deliveries.

"It's always a bit hard to come back and perform after nearly four months," he said. "I feel well but nothing like match practice.

"It was difficult batting in the first hour because the ball kept swinging and some also kept low, but I am confident our batsmen can put up a bigger score when we bat for the second time."

The UAE were left tottering at 12 for three with their top three batsmen, Faizan Asif (3), Arshad Ali (2) and Swapnil Patil (6), back in the pavilion. Javed was also the top scorer with 24 before being run out. Khurram Khan, the captain, chipped in with 22 and his dismissal left the UAE at 57 for five.

Preston Mommsen (24) and Haq shared a 52-run stand for the third Scotland wicket before Fayyaz Ahmed and Javed removed them both in successive overs. Javed then ended the day on a high by removing Coleman.