KARACHI: Pakistan booked their flight to Sri Lanka to feature in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup semi-finals after another solid display to beat UAE in their Group ‘B’ match here at the National Stadium on Friday.
The other match of the group at the Southend Club saw Bangladesh responded to their 97-run defeat against the Emiratis a day earlier to edge past Hong Kong by 28 runs.
Pakistan, after thrashing Hong Kong by 225 runs on Monday, were once again clinical but the UAE were more challenging than the former.
Off-spinner Ashiq Ali broke openers Rohan Mustafa and Ghulam Shabber’s 63-run partnership when he trapped the UAE skipper Mustafa lbw in the 12th over.
That dismissal proved to be vital as Ashiq went on to take three wickets — including Shabber’s. UAE could not really recover and lost wickets in quick successions.
Mohammad Usman’s 51 not out and Shaiman Anwar’s 27, though, proved to be vital for the Emiratis who managed 233-9 in 50 overs after being put to bat by Pakistan skipper Mohammad Rizwan.
Pakistan’s chase started off with a stutter when Ali Imran, who scored a century against Hong Kong, was dismissed by Ahmad Raza for just five in the third over.
The home side’s response to the blow was mature.
Imran’s opening partner Sahibzada Farhan now paired up with Hussain Talat and guided Pakistan to a steady pursuit towards the target as Pakistan wrapped up the proceedings by the 39th over.
Farhan hit his second consecutive century in the tournament hitting ten boundaries in 104 off 120 balls while Hussain, a fast-bowling all-rounder, contributed 116 off 109 smashing 14 fours and two sixes in the process.
Hussain had also taken a wicket, ousting Amir Hayat for nine. The left-armer bowled five overs in the match.
“My focus is to keep performing,” Hussain said. “I’ve played in at three in T20 internationals and I also bowl. I’ll try to keep doing my best in ‘A’ team matches and also at the domestic level.
“Everything else is for the selectors to decide,” added the man-of-the-match about his prospects of making a solid place in the senior side.
UAE will now look to beat Hong Kong in their final group match at the Southend Club on Sunday to boost their chances to make it to the semi-finals when Bangladesh play Pakistan at the National Stadium.
The Emiratis’ head coach Douglas Brown expressed disappointment over his team’s show against the hosts.
“The target of 233 was always somewhere close to just below par,” said the Scot. “We were hoping we could get some early wickets and get ourselves in the game but Farhan and Talat played beautifully.”
Brown said his team were enjoying their time in Karachi and that the metropolis is a safe cricketing venue.
“Karachi is a wonderful place and it is very hospitable and it appears very safe,” said the 49-year-old.
“The level of security we’ve had has been outstanding and it is important for Pakistan to get [to host] some cricket.
“We’ll go back to the UAE and will certainly give a positive report about how we’ve been treated and looked after.”
Sindh governor Imran Ismail also visited the venue and called on international teams to visit Pakistan for cricket. He said Karachi hosting the Pakistan Super League final next year will be a proof that the city is a safe place.
“We are a hospitable and welcoming nation and we want all international teams to come to Pakistan,” said Ismail.
The governor was flanked by Pakistan Cricket Board’s director international cricket Zakir Khan.
Zakir said the PCB is doing its best to work towards bringing back international cricket to the country and is in coordination with relevant government institutions for that goal.
At National Stadium: Pakistan beat UAE by nine wickets.
UAE 233-9 in 50 overs (Ashfaq Ahmed 69, Mohammad Usman 51 not out, Shaiman Anwar27, Rohan Mustafa 25; Ashiq Ali 3-34, Khushdil Shah 2-29); PAKISTAN 235-1 in 39 overs (Hussain Talat 116 not out, Sahibzada Farhan 104 not out).
At Southend Club: Bangladesh beat Hong Kong by 28 runs.
BANGLADESH 286-8 in 50 overs (Mosaddek Hussain Saikat 100, Zakir Hasan 49, Yasir Ali Chowdhury 45, Nazmul Hossain Shanto 36, Arif Hossain Dhrubo 20; Aizaz Khan 3-62, Ehsan Nawaz 2-48); HONG KONG 258-7 in 50 overs (Nizakat Khan 92, Babar Hayat 91, Ehsan Khan 26 not out; Mosaddek Hossain Saikat 2-23, Khaled Ahmed 2-69).
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2018