Three half centuries were the highlight of the UAE Lions innings as they defeated Bukhatir XI by a comfortable 63 runs in the 9th Al Dhaid Gold Cup Tournament at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The tournament is organized by the Sharjah Cricket Council.

Batting first, Irfan Naseem and Saqib Azeem were over cautious initially managing just seven runs of the first over. But once they settled in, both the batsmen opened up with the former doing most of the scoring as the duo added 41 runs for the first wicket.

Afer Saqib Azeem departed scoring 12 from 28, Salim A Rahim joined Naseem and the pair looked all comfortable as they milked an impressive 82 runs for the second wicket. Irfan Naseem mixed caution with aggression as he fired five boundaries and three sixes to score 65 from 67 deliveries.

Raheem was a tad aggressive in his approach as he hit a brilliant 85 from only 77 deliveries laced with seven hits to the fence and four over it.

Nabil Iqbal further boosted the total as he blasted five sixes and a boundary during his amazing knock of 56 not out from just 31 deliveries.

Rashid Ali (23, 23b, 2×4, 1×6) and Behzaad Sardar (22, 14b, 1×6) made small contributions as UAE Lions posted an imposing 282 for five in 40 overs.

For Bukhatir XI, Shad Hamza scalped two wickets.

Chasing a challenging target, Bukhatir XI lost a wicket early but Shad Hamza and Rameez Abdulkareem (26, 38b, 3×4) shared an important 69 runs to revive their innings.

A couple of wickets fell in quick succession that slowed down Bukhatir XI’s progress.

Vishnu Sukumaran tried his best to escalate the innings with a 27-ball 39 including three boundaries and two sixes while Vinu Vijiyan (26) and Mohamed Halan (25) also played their part but with the required run rate shooting up, Bukhatir XI could manage only 219 in 36 overs.

Behzaad Sardar was the star bowler for the winners claiming three wickets while Tauqer Raja and Muhammad Naeem bagged two each.

Brief scores: UAE Lions bt Bukhatir XI by 63 runs. UAE Lions: 282/5 in 40 overs (Irfan Naseem 65, Salim A Rahim 85, Rashid Ali 23, Nabil Iqbal 56 not out, Behzaad Sardar 22; Shad Hamza 2/19). Bukhatir XI: 219 all out in 36 overs (Shad Hamza 57, Rameez Abdul Kareem 26, Vishnu Sukumaran 39, Vinu Vijiyan 26, Mohamed Halan 25; Behzaad Sardar 3/40, Tauqer Raja 2/27, Muhammad Naeem 2/43). Man of the match: Salim A Rahim. Umpires: Iftikhar Ali and Sohail Shabbir.