Ali Khan burst into the action in his first match on tour after missing the previous two weeks with back spasms by taking 4 for 26 in USA's 61-run win.
By Peter Della Penna in Dubai
Another day, another rousing win for USA in Dubai as Steven Taylor’s 95 was followed by 4 for 26 by Ali Khan in his first match on tour to take USA to a 61-run win over a UAE Developmental XI at The Sevens Ground on Sunday.
After missing the T20Is at the start of the tour along with USA’s first four 50-over matches due to back spasms, Ali was electric in his opening spell in defense of USA’s 257 for 7 as he and USA debutant Karima Gore reduced the hosts to 18 for 4 inside of six overs from which they never recovered. Left-arm spinning allrounder Gore made the first breakthrough, ending the second over getting the scalp of captain Chirag Suri given out edging an attempted cut behind to Jaskaran Malhotra for 6 before Ali beat Ansh Tandon for pace with an inswinger from around the wicket to trap him lbw for 1.
Two balls into his next over, Ali had the previous match’s centurion, Amjad Khan, out caught behind poking at a back of a length ball for 4. Gore then struck for the second time in the sixth, getting Abdul Shakoor to feather an edge prodding forward for Malhotra’s third catch of the Powerplay.
Ali came off after four overs before returning in the 16th following the first drinks break. He struck again in the final over of his second spell in the 20th as Aryan Lakra was beaten for pace attempting to pull Ali over the leg side and instead sent a catch to Jessy Singh on the ring at mid-off to make it 61 for 5. Jessy took over for Ali in the 22nd and struck with his second ball, getting Fahad Nawaz to sky a catch to Jannisar Khan at mid-off for 19 to make it 68 for 6.
As they had in their previous two encounters, UAE Developmental XI were resilient in fighting back through the middle and lower order. On this occasion it meant a 96-run stand between Sultan Ahmed and Vriitya Aravind. An experienced member of the UAE men’s side, Sultan took the lead in keeping USA’s spinners at bay for the next 19 overs as he wisely used the wind at his back to drive Hayden Walsh’s legspin for a pair of sixes. A sequence of five boundaries in the space of 14 balls spread across the 38th through the 40th overs took him past 50 off 51 balls as the partnership continued to threaten with the hosts suddenly needing 94 off the last 10 overs.
But the partnership came to an end when the 16-year-old Aravind’s lack of experience showed in taking on Walsh for a single to mid-off. Sultan turned down the run opportunity against USA’s best fielder as Aravind continued charging through to the non-striker’s end. After sliding to cut the ball off, Walsh had plenty of time to lob a slow relay to Malhotra to send Aravind off for 28.
Sultan finally fell for 67 two overs later in the 43rd, failing to get enough power even with the wind at his back to clear Walsh at long-off as Taylor got his first wicket. Ali returned for a final spell in the 46th, nabbing Arslan Javed edging a cut behind for Malhotra’s fourth catch before Taylor ended the match in the following over bowling Alishan Sharafu heaving across the line as UAE Developmental XI fell for 196 in 46.2 overs.
In addition to his two wickets, Taylor had an excellent day with the bat top-scoring in USA’s innings. After USA opted to bat first, Taylor arrived in the first over after Xavier Marshall fell for a fifth-ball duck. Just two days after hammering 170 off the same bowling unit, Marshall survived a very confident lbw shout first ball from left-arm seamer Saif Noor before being bowled prodding forward to an inswinger four balls later.
Taylor survived a very difficult chance on 6 at midwicket in the ring, flicking a delivery off the fingertips of Amjad Khan leaping in the air but unable to hold on. Another contentious decision came in the 8th over when he appeared to be runout going for a dicey single but the umpire at the non-striker’s end judged him to have beaten a direct hit.
Monank Patel fell for 15, unable to convert another start into a big score when he drove away from his body to edge behind Noor for his second wicket. Aaron Jones came to the crease and gave USA a brief scare when he began clutching at his left knee after pushing for a two to get off the mark on his fourth ball. He continued to hobble for the next 13 overs before finally being convinced to retire hurt on 24 at the end of the 20th over on 83 for 2, having added 55 with Taylor by that stage.
Taylor continued the third-wicket stand with Malhotra, adding another 64 with USA’s stand-in captain. Taylor sized up the windy conditions well on the day and drove a pair of sixes with the wind off legspinner Karthik Meiyappan and Rahul Bhatia over long-on. He brought up his 50 off 58 balls in the 24th off Bhatia with a boundary. The stand with Malhotra finally came to an end when Malhotra was runout trying to turn a single into two and was beaten by a relay from Sharafu to Shakoor behind the stumps for 16 in the 29th over.
Walsh joined Taylor and the pair added another 41 together as Taylor moved into the 90s. He looked certain to reach three figures but with the milestone one shot away, he tried to open the face of his bat to run a single down to third man and instead gave an edge behind for Noor’s third wicket.
Jannisar entered and made 14 before missing a sweep to be lbw for 14, paving the way for Gore to take the field for USA for the first time and he got off the mark second ball with a two punched through cover. Walsh survived a stumping chance on 28 in the 44th before clubbing Sultan’s left-arm spin for six down the ground in the 47th to move to 40. He tried to hit Lakra’s spin into the wind in the following over and was caught at long-off by Amjad for 42.
Gore took 13 off the 49th to help USA past 250, cutting Noor behind point for his first boundary before flicking another in the air wide of long-on along the way to finishing unbeaten on 25 off 24 balls. Singh fell on the final ball of the innings as another attempt to drive through the wind found Amjad on the boundary. But by that stage USA had more than enough to defend thanks to Ali’s opening spell.
USA continues their tour on Monday taking on the UAE full men’s XI at the Sevens.