ICC Media Release
The United Arab Emirates had just the better of Namibia on day one of what is turning out to be a low-scoring but fascinating ICC Intercontinental Cup match at Sharjah Stadium.
Saqib Ali's side is just 17 runs short of securing the points for a first innings lead with the skipper himself leading the way on 72 not out at the close. When the umpires called time on the day's play the UAE had moved on to 147-6 in reply to Namibia's meagre total of 164 all out on what is a typically flat, if slightly slow, Sharjah pitch.
Opening bowler Fahad al Hashimi did the early damage for the UAE removing three of Namibia's top four batsmen with just 43 runs on the board. The pain continued for Louis Burger's men as they stuttered to 52-5 with Amjad Javed getting in on the act with a brace of wickets.
Tobias Verwey and opener JB Burger then put on a crucial 69-run partnership for the sixth wicket but it was a short-lived recovery as Ahmed Raza struck late and often to reduce the Africans to 164 all out.
In reply, UAE's top-order did nothing early on to suggest it was going to be any easier for them collapsing to 36-5 and then, after a recovery of sorts, to 78-6 as Amjad Ali was dismissed by Louis Burger for 20.
But Saqib was standing tall and when he was joined in the middle by Ahmed Raza there followed what will perhaps prove to be the most important partnership of the match. The pair put on an unbeaten 69 to finish the day just 17 adrift with four wickets still in hand.
The first task for Saqib and Raza will be to knock off those runs to secure first-innings points and then they'll seek to build a lead to set up an outright win that would recharge the UAE's ICC Intercontinental Cup campaign and improve upon its current position of seventh in the log.