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Asia Cup: Bangladesh, UAE battle for first points

After a defeat in their respective Asia Cup openers, both Bangladesh and the UAE will hope their fortunes turn around on Friday, which will decide their future in the tournament.

Cricketnext Staff |February 26, 2016, 9:49 AM IST
Asia Cup: Bangladesh, UAE battle for first points

After a defeat in their respective Asia Cup openers, both Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will hope their fortunes turn around on Friday when they face off in an encounter that could decide their future in the tournament.

Hosts Bangladesh lost their opening match against strong neighbors India while the UAE team went down fighting against Sri Lanka, who had to rely on skipper Lasith Malinga’s winning spell to avoid an upset defeat on Thursday.

On a bowling-friendly pitch, Bangladesh allowed MS Dhoni's men to put up a 166-run total on board and were dismissed for 121 for 7, losing the match by 45 runs on Wednesday. The UAE, despite a superb bowling performance where they restricted Sri Lanka to 129, went back to their hotel rooms with the frustration of a 14-run loss.

Bangladesh have lost three of their last four Twenty20 matches and will be under a lot of pressure in front of the home crowd, whereas the Aaqib Javed-coached UAE have nothing to lose after making a surprise entry into the main round beating Afghanistan, Oman and Hong Kong in the qualifying stage.

Mashrafe Mortaza and his men have displayed tremendous form in the one-day internationals of late on home soil but have failed to carry the momentum in T20 arena.

But UAE’s must more experienced opponents will be the favourites to bag their first points to stay in contention for the final, but the way UAE gave the Lankans a scare, it will be foolhardy if the Bangla Tigers drop their guard. The UAE, though, will be playing without a rest day following their match against Sri Lanka Thursday night. That might take some steam out of their effort.

Bangladesh’s hopes will largely rest on the shoulders of the likes of fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, captain Mortaza and batsman Sabbir Rahman. Veteran allrounder Shakib Al Hasan too will look to overcome his poor outing against India and maintain his status of a match-winner for Bangladesh.

UAE captain Amjad Javed will be the go-to man for the visitors. He took three wickets to help restrict Sri Lanka to 129 for 8 with only Dinesh Chandimal (50) making a significant contribution. Mohammad Naveed and Mohammad Shahzad too chipped in with a couple of wickets each to give Sri Lanka a scare.

But their batting has left a lot to be desired as they were reduced to 47 for 6 at one stage chasing a below-par total. Except wicketkeeper-batsman Swapnil Patil (37 off 36), none of the UAE batsmen could contribute against Sri Lanka, who must thank skipper Lasith Malinga’s 4 for 26 to save T20 champions the blushes.

For UAE, it will be another opportunity to have a crack at a Test nation; and if they can perform as a unit, an upset on Friday can’t be ruled out.

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