Kenya face UAE in ICC Intercontinental Cup opener

July 27th, 2011 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, July 27 (IANS) Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are ready to fight it out in the opening four-day match of the ICC Intercontinental Cup here Thursday after both teams shared honours in the two One-day Internationals played ahead of the event.

This year’s tournament has eight teams - Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia and United Arab Emirates.

Kenya’s new captain Collins Obuya will be leading a new-look side with a few veterans bringing their experience on board.

“It has been a while since we played UAE but they have a very experienced side in comparison to our younger squad,” said Obuya.

“Their bowling attack which is strong and tends to win matches for them, especially on spinner-friendly wickets. To some extent we have home advantage because we are used to pitch conditions while the weather here is very different from the UAE thus playing a key role to our game plan,” added the 29-year-old all-rounder.

UAE, on the other hand, will be making a return to the competition, having last year competed in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Shield, and captain Khurram Khan’s men will want a strong start to its new campaign.

The UAE side has some familiar faces to Associate cricket in the form of bowler Nasir Aziz while Saqib Ali will lead the batting line-up.

“Having played quite a lot of 20-over cricket in the past months we have now turned our attention to the longer format and have been working hard ahead of this first match,” said Khan.

“We have seen Kenya play before but we are a strong side and will be ready for whatever challenges they offer to us. We do have a strong spin attack but at the same time our pacers, Amjad Javed and Shoaib Sarwar gives us a balanced look.”

Ahead of the match, the sides split a two-match 50-over series 1-1. Kenya won the opening match Monday by 66 runs (D/L method), before the UAE claimed a four-wicket victory Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Cup match against Namibia, which was postponed from June 28, will now take place at Stormont, Belfast from September 6-9.

The ICC’s premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members’ cricket schedule.

There will be a total of $254,000 in prize money for the Associate and Affiliate teams with $100,000 for the winners and $40,000 for the runners-up.

Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event then evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.

Scotland won the first Intercontinental in 2004 while Ireland has been victorious on three occasions. Afghanistan won the competition in 2009-10.

The squad:

Kenya: Collins Obuya (captain), Rakep Patel, Tanmay Mishra, Runish Gudka, Hiren Varaiya, Lucas Oluoch, Dominic Wesonga, Karen Kaul, Amit Shukla, Rajesh Bhudia, Rajesh Varsani, Ramesh Mepani, Mansukh Jesani, Samarth Patel.

UAE: Khurram Khan (captain), Mohammed Touqir, Arshad Ali, Saqib Ali, Abdul Rehman, Ahmed Raza, Amjad Javed, Shadeep Silva, Amjad Ali, Shaiman Anwar, Nasir Aziz, Shoaib Sarwar, Wasim Bari, Palekar Hamid.

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