22 August 2006


Qatar v UAE at Royal Selangor Club


The Emirates reached the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy with an easy win over Qatar that owed much to their vaunted batting line-up.

The final gap between the teams would have been even greater than 111 runs had it not been for an innings of spark and spunk from Qatar's 14-year old Tamoor Sajjad. He made 53 in an opening stand of 118 as his team chased UAE's mammoth 350.

David (Tamoor Sajjad) takes on Goliath (Ali Asad)

Tamoor Sajjad
Muhammad Jahangir
Sajjad stood straight with a broad bat, strong on the back foot, savage on the pull. He made facing the pace of Ali Asad, the tournament's fastest bowler, look easy. One shot he played lingers in the memory still, a punch through cover off a sharply lifting delivery that trisected three fielders placed specially to prevent the ball reaching the boundary. He hit five 4s and two 6s in his innings and when he was out, playing just a little too early to Mohammad Tauqir's off spin, he had impressed all onlookers and assumed the mantle of 'future of Asian cricket.'

Tamoor Sajjad has the fearlessness and self-confidence that comes with all prodigies and a desire to express himself with the bat that is the hallmark of all great players. He could well be a star.

His innings was counterpointed by his opening partner Muhammad Jahangir who used all his experience and grit to guts out 88 of Qatar's first 174 runs. Jahangir's a class act in himself and a fine example for all to follow when it comes to technique and temperament. All of his skills, however, when put up against Khurram Khan of the UAE who made a breezy 112 off 102 deliveries, look a little pedestrian.

Khurram Khan is a thoroughbred; quite possibly the best all-round cricketer ever produced at Associate level and he makes the game look ridiculously easy. He practises hard and because of it is able to produce innings of David Gower-like effortlessness as he finesses, times and places the ball just where he wants. He has more time to play than the most gilded playboy and with all his batting is a super bowler and fielder too.

UAE had the game won once Sajjad and then his captain Omer Taj was out four balls later but as long as Sajjad was there, showing the UAE that they weren't invincible, the game was there for the taking.

Khurram Khan

The UAE's ACC Trophy semi-final against Nepal will be an epic. At stake is an Asia Cup place and World Cup qualification placings. It'll be a fight between old world and new, between power and finesse, explosiveness and eagerness, aggression and application.

It will be the Associate match of the year. Until the Final that is...

Qatar v UAE at Royal Selangor Club
UAE: 350 for 9 in 50 overs
(M. Iqbal 45, A. Ali 42, K. Khan 112, R. Shehzad 46*)
Qatar: 239 in 47.5 overs
(M. Jahangir 88, T.Sajjad 53; S. Silva 4-39)
Man of the Match: Khurram Khan (UAE)


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