A fighting fifty from teen debutant Ali Naseer helped UAE score 202 against West Indies after a middle-order collapse in the first of the three-match ODI series in Sharjah. Keemo Paul, who was playing an ODI after almost a year, marked his return with three wickets.
Winning the toss and opting to bat on a pitch offering turn and uneven bounce, UAE lost both openers inside the first three overs. Paul struck in his second ball when he bowled the UAE captain Muhammad Waseem for a duck. Left-arm pacer Dominic Drakes, who made his West Indies debut alongside spin allrounder Kavem Hodge, then picked up his first ODI wicket by breaking through the defence of Aryansh Sharma in his second over.
Vriitya Aravind took his time but stabilised the innings with a 70-ball 40 and stitched together a partnership of 31 off 54 with Rameez Shahzad for the third wicket. The stand was broken when Rameez had to retire hurt in the 12th over following a blow on his helmet off Odean Smith’s bowling. Aravind hit a few classy cover drives and put on 44 runs with Asif Khan for the fourth wicket before being dismissed by legspinner Yannic Cariah when he nicked the ball to the wicketkeeper.
From 100 for 2, UAE lost four wickets for 29 runs to endure a collapse. This included the wicket of Rameez, who returned to bat after retiring hurt. Cariah was tough to score off in the middle overs and conceded just 26 runs in his seven overs. UAE, though, bounced back in the final phase of the innings, courtesy of Naseer.
Coming in at No.7, the left-hand batter provided the late push needed to cross the 200-mark and kept the scorecard ticking. Naseer, aged 19, showed determination and went after the left-arm spinner Hodge, smashing two sixes in the 41st over, one over midwicket and another – a slog sweep over wide long-on. Smith, Drakes and Hodge then kept him quiet for a few overs before Naseer holed out to long-off. It was a slow off-cutter from outside off stump from Paul that worked against him. His 52-ball 58 had five fours and two sixes.
For West Indies, Drakes, Smith, and Cariah scalped two each and Chase took one.
Source : ESPN Cricinfo