Saqib Ali victorious for UAE
Picture courtesy Aric Tan

UAE and Afghanistan matches are always hard-fought, Afghanistan won a T20 match with a last-ball 6 just a few months ago. Today UAE won a see-saw tussle by two wickets in the last over, chasing 217. After his 140 against Bhutan yesterday, UAE's batting maestro Saqib Ali played superbly yet again to bring his team home scoring an unbeaten 93 from 103 balls.

On a track that “wasn’t giving away too much” Saqib Ali said that, “it was a high pressure game and we’re glad we won against such a good team. They bowled very well but all I knew was I had to bat out 50 overs. I did and we won.” The body might be aging, he retired hurt yesterday with a sore wrist, and was suffering again today but his competitive fires still burn strong.

Afghanistan's captain Nowroz Mangal falls
Picture by Salman Hussain

As do Afghanistan's. A finely balanced game throughout, Afghanistan batted first scoring 217. After a 41-run opening partnership between Karim Sadiq and Noor Ali Noori in 57-balls, four wickets in six overs knocked Afghanistan back. Their innings was repaired by Muhammad Shahzad (33 off 63) and Raees Ahmadzai (56 off 99). Rotating the strike and backed by 300 increasingly vocal supporters they put on 58 in 119 balls. After Shahzad's departure, Samiullah Shinwari carried on and smashed an unbeaten 50 of 46 balls.

Shahpour Zadran to Khurram Khan

A wicket in the third ball and a subsequent lack of patience from the UAE batsmen had them at 43 for 4 after 15 overs. Enter Saqib Ali – with Afghanistan quick and deadly accurate in the field, runs were hard to come by at first. Naeemuddin Aslam (22 off 34) partnered Ali in skilfully discovering the gaps until a horrendous mix-up left both batsmen at the same crease, and Aslam fuming as he walked out. 64 runs came off Ali’s next two partnerships with Fayyaz Ahmed and Shadeep Silva, 32 runs of each.

Needing 17 runs off 18 balls, with three wickets remaining, Qadar Nawaz’s flick off the hips had Hamid Hassan fly to his left at fine leg, taking the catch of the game whilst injuring himself in the process. 16 off 15, a thick edge by Qasim Zubair off Shahpour Zadran was 4, and UAE needed 10 off 13. Another four by Zubair, a beautiful flick to fine leg, left UAE needing just one run off the final over. They got it.

ACC Trophy Elite 2010
Group B: Afghanistan v UAE at KEC
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 217 for 7 off 50 overs (M.Shahzad 33, R.Ahmadzai 56, S.Shenwari 50*; S.Silva 3-30)
UAE: 218 for 8 off 49.1 overs (A.Rehman 30, S.Ali 93*; S.Zadran 3-28)
Man of the Match: Saqib Ali (UAE)

Tournament Page

Filed April 3rd, 2010