Ashraful century leads Bangladesh to win
The United Arab Emirates made it into double figures in the ODI count with this match, their tenth since first playing ODI cricket in the 1994 Austral-Asia Cup, but couldn't pull off a win to mark the occasion in their first match against Bangladesh since the semi-final of the 1998 ACC Trophy, back when Bangladesh were still an associate nation.
Like Pakistan in their match against Hong Kong, Bangladesh lost an early wicket, Nazimuddin falling for two with the score on 12. Tamim Iqbal and captain Mohammad Ashraful rebuilt the innings with a 95 run partnership before Tamim was run out for 40.
Ashraful was joined at the crease by Raqibul Hasan and they practically played the UAE out of the game with an excellent partnership of 141 for the third wicket. Hasan scored 83 from 63 balls before he was caught behind off the bowling of Zahid Shah.
The captain stayed in for a while longer, eventually scoring 109, his second ODI century and the first since the one he scored in Bangladesh's famous win over Australia at Cardiff in the 2004 NatWest Series. The lower middle order then put on another 50 to lead Bangladesh to exactly 300 from their 50 overs.
The target was always going to be tough for the UAE, and only two of their batsmen really got a start. Arshad Ali, marked out by us as the UAE's key player, scored 41 before he was fifth out with the score on 117.
Khurram Khan was already at the crease by that time, and he stayed in, batting well. He scored quickly, at almost a run a ball, and whilst the target was out of reach for the UAE, it looked like Khan could get the first ODI century by a UAE batsman.
He couldn't manage it however, the strain of staying in with the tail getting to him, and he was ninth out for 78, seven runs short of beating Saleem Raza's record score of 84 made against the Netherlands in the 1996 World Cup.
The UAE were bowled out for 204, their highest total against a Test playing nation, and second highest overall behind the 220/3 scored in the aforementioned World Cup match against the Netherlands. They thus lost by 96 runs, but performed with some credit.
The UAE have a day off tomorrow whilst Bangladesh play defending champions Sri Lanka. The UAE will play Sri Lanka themselves on Thursday.