Ali Asad and Arshad Ali
Ali Asad

UAE started their Premier League season with a hard-fought victory in Sharjah over challengers Nepal.

Winning the toss, UAE batted. Nepal, hampered by the absence of pace-bowler Mehboob Alam, had their successes but UAE’s captain Arshad Ali held the innings together. He was aided by fellow-opener Amjad Javed (33) and the middle-order (Fahad Usman, 25 and Shadeep Silva, 42). When Arshad declared his team’s innings closed on 262 for 7 he was 137*. Nepal had bowled well but like the batsmen, struggled with the slowness of the wicket which was already beginning to break up a little by the end of the first day.

Still, bowlers of the pace and hostility of Ali Asad and Zahid Shah (the UAE’s Premier League top wicket-takers last season) don’t rely on the state of the wicket in order to snare their victims and within minutes had Nepal’s openers back in the pavilion. A couple of missed chances prevented them from making further inroads into the Nepalis for whom Sharad Veshawkar (30) and Shakti Gauchan (38) held firm. The absence of Mehboob Alam made itself felt again here as he alone of the Nepali batsmen is able to switch from defense to attack in an instant. The Nepal innings was dour and turgid, limping to 155 all out in the 64th over.

Sharad Veshawkar
Zahid Shah
Shadeep Silva

Taking the new ball for the second time, Nepal’s captain Binod Das rose to the occasion, taking the first three UAE second-innings wickets, including Arshad Ali for just 3. With the wicket increasingly taking spin, Nepal’s slow bowlers were able to capitalise with nagging line and length and had it not been for a classy 30 from Shadeep Silva (who has played first-class cricket in Sri Lanka), UAE would have fallen for far less than the 97 they made.

Nepal were now in with an outside chance of victory and had four sessions to score the 205 necessary. As it was, it only took UAE two sessions to bowl Nepal out for 107, the ball hardly leaving the square, Ali Asad taking 4-41.


Filed November 9 2006