UAE continue winning ways against Afghanistan
It's one of the non-test world's enduring mysteries. Just why can't Afghanistan beat the UAE in a one-day match? Since their first meeting in the format in 2008, they have now played six times, with the UAE winning on every occasion.
And today's win, in the semi-final of the ACC Trophy Elite, was possibly the most comprehensive of them all. Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat, but were bundled out for just 70 with only Karim Sadiq (12) and Javed Ahmadi (29) the only batsmen to reach double figures. Ahmed Raza was the pick of the bowlers with 3-6.
The UAE lost Abdul Shakoor in the first over and his opening partner Arshad Ali with the score on 26 in the tenth over, but they weren't going to collapse in the same way the Afghans did. Haroon Iftikhar top scored with an unbeaten 34 to lead his team to a comprehensive eight wicket win.
They will meet Nepal in Friday's final, who overcame a battling Malaysian side at Abu Dhabi today.
With the match reduced to 45 overs after fog prevented the game starting on time, Nepal were put into bat by Malaysia and promptly lost their openers with just 21 on the board. But Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka put on 112 for the third wicket, a partnership that provided the spine to the Nepal innings.
Malla scored a patient 34 whilst Khadka top scored with 89 to help lead his side to a total of 241-9 from their 45 overs, Nazril Rahman the pick of the bowlers with 4-37.
At one point in Malaysia's run chase, it looked like they could possibly pull off a surprise win. Suhan Kumar scored 43 and Safiq Sharif scored 42, but once they were out, the rest of the batting line-up couldn't score at the required rate and Malaysia were restricted to 220-9, losing by 21 runs.
In the fifth place play-off, Hong Kong's 7 run win over Oman owed much to Tanwir Afzal. Batting first, Hong Kong were reduced to 59-7 before number 8 Afzal hit 106 from 78 balls to help his team score 213 before they were bowled out. He then took 3-38 to bowl the Omanis out for 206.
In the seventh place play-off, Kuwait beat the Maldives by 7 wickets thanks to 69 by Kashif Sharif, whilst Saudi Arabia beat Bhutan by 7 wickets in the ninth place play-off after Mohammed Afzal scored an unbeaten 59, finishing the chase by scoring 20 in a single over.
The UAE will now play Nepal in Friday's final at Sharjah, whilst Afghanistan will play Malaysia in the third place play-off at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.