Cricinfo: Asia Cup 2008 Cricinfo

6th Match, Group A: Sri Lanka v United Arab Emirates at Lahore - Jun 26, 2008

Amjad dazzles but Sri Lanka too strong

Amjad Ali

The Associate nations have found the going rough in the Asia Cup, with both Hong Kong and UAE falling to big defeats in their games. There was a brief glimmer for UAE as their opener Amjad Ali blasted a quickfire 77 to raise visions of a glorious upset.

UAE were chasing a daunting 291 but Amjad was didn't let that affect him as he made a spectacular half-century. Shrugging away any exhaustion having kept wickets earlier, Amjad made his intentions clear in the very first over from Nuwan Kulasekera. A wristy flick over square leg, a fine glance past fine leg and a punch between mid-on and midwicket proved Amjad was not going to wait for the bowler to make a mistake.

Perhaps the shot of the day, though, came in the next over when a forward punch from Amjad, powered by a Lara-esque high backlift, sent the ball racing past mid-off. Even the loss of his opening partner Arshad Ali, who was beaten by a brilliant pick and throw by Chamara Kapugedera early on, didn't hinder Amjad's approach.

His cavalier approach took UAE to 83 for 1 after 15 overs and even forced Mahela Jayawardene to delay taking the third Powerplay. Although their reaching the target in 39.1 overs - and so pipping Bangladesh to the second round - was unlikely, they were still in with a chance to pull off an upset. Those hopes faded when Amjad fell trying to clear the long-on boundary off Tillakaratne Dilshan in the 24th over and the tail proved unable to deal with Mendis's mystery spin.


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