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
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.