ABU DHABI // Saqib Ali battled through a hamstring injury to play a stellar role for the UAE as they finished on top of Group B with a 42-run win over Canada at the Zayed Stadium yesterday. The stocky all-rounder smashed 43 from 29 deliveries and gave his team the vital break by claiming two wickets in one over to return figures of two for nine off three overs and pick up the man-of-the-match award. Canada were bowled out for 100 in reply to the UAE's 142 for seven.
"The joy to play and help the team to qualify for the T20 World Cup is greater than the pain," said Saqib, who suffered the injury when fielding against Kenya in the opening day of the competition on Tuesday. "I am prepared to play as long as I can contribute to the team. The team physio Chitrala Sudhaker did a great job with a strapping that gives me good relief when I am on the field." Saqib was brought on as first change when Geoff Barnett (19) and Ashish Bagai (21) were beginning to revive the innings after the fall of two early wickets. They played some lusty shots around the ground to take the score to 48 for two in five overs.
Saqib uprooted Barnett's middle stump with his first delivery and Ian Billcliff played one straight to captain Khurram Khan at cover three balls later. Shadeep Silva grabbed two wickets in as many overs at the other end to effectively turn the game around and Ahmed Raza did the mopping up operation by claiming two for 17. Earlier, Arfan Haider, the opening batsman, stroked 46 in 43 balls. The Netherlands progressed to the Super Four stage as the second team from the group after a seven-wicket win over Kenya in the other game. Mudassar Bukhari (4-33) and Pieter Seelaar (4-19) took eight wickets between them to dismiss the Kenyans to 130.