Ahmed Raza and Qadeer Ahmed took three wickets each as the UAE got the upper hand on the first day of their ICC Intercontinental Cup against Papua New Guinea.
Having bowled out the tourists for 194, the hosts trail by 180 runs with all their 10 wickets intact after openers Rohan Mustafa (3no) and Laxman Sreekumar (11) survived the eight overs.
The hosts, who are winless in this competition, went into the game at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium on the back of a morale-boosting ODI triumph over the same opponents.
And that confidence was there to see as Ahmed made an instant impact, removing openers Tony Ura (11) and Vani Morrea (11) to leave the tourists struggling at 33-3.
Things did not get much brighter for the PNG batsmen with big partnerships hard to come by. Jack Vare and Chad Soper were their top-scorers with 38 as Mohammed Naveed (2-43), Imran Haider (2-50), Raza (3-38) and Ahmed (3-43) took the wickets.
Having lost the toss, spinner Raza says his team responded well to take the advantage.
“I think all the credit goes to Qadeer and Naveed as they got the top three batsmen out and we picked up wickets on the way,” said the 28-year-old. “We didn’t allow them to get going and score boundaries and every person in the team played their part today.
The UAE resume play on 14-0 and Raza says the early stages of the day will be crucial. “The first session is going to be important and the plan will be to take the lead and then build a healthy advantage but it’s not going to be easy,” he said.