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Saqib's marathon halts Namibia

The sixth wicket stand between Saqib and Patil yielded 131 runs

Saqib's marathon halts Namibia - Cricket News
Saqib Ali kisses the turf after scoring his hundred.
United Arab Emirates' former captain Saqib Ali scored his fourth first-class hundred to push the contest in the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final into the fourth and final day.

Saqib played a patient unbatean innings of 139 off 403 balls with 15 hits to the boundary and has thus far spent a total of 537 minutes at the crease. Saqib's effort ensured UAE was able to wipe off Namibia's lead of 241 runs with ease.

Saqib's effort put paid to any hopes Namibia had of mopping up UAE's innings early on Saturday morning. UAE ended the third day of the final at 403 for eight, with an overall lead of 162 runs with one full day to play on Sunday.

Saqib was aided well by wicketkeeper Swapnil Patil (94: 250 minutes, 203b, 12 x4). Saqib-Patil resumed play on the overnight score of 200 for five. Together they saw off the entire morning session of play without any further damage. The duo played patiently and were prepared to wait for the bad ball as Namibia seem to run out of ideas. Patil reached his half-century quicker than Saqib.

Patil looked set for a hundred, but got bogged down in the 90s. He finally fell leg-before to become Sarel Burger's fifth wicket. The sixth wicket stand between Saqib and Patil yielded 131 runs. The two batted together for 68.1 overs to help revive UAE's innings and erase the deficit.

After Patil's dismissal, Amjad Javed frurstrated Namibia further with a dogged 24 off 62 balls. Mohammaq Tauqir fell soon after.

But number 10 Qasim Zubair batted out rest of the day with Saqib adding a further 40 runs as UAE looked to Sunday with hope.

Namibia captain Craig Williams paid tribute to Saqib's marathon effort. "The pitch has got better and it is really flat now. But the way they batted maybe they could have looked to score a lot quicker. But this ensures that we do not bat first thing tomorrow, so that could be a blessing in disguise for us," said Williams.

Saqib was exhausted but thrilled with his effort. "I have played such innings many times. I batted slowly because I had tailenders with me. If I had a top-order batsman then maybe I could have rotated the stroke a bit more. But with the tailenders I decided to take responbsibility and batted patiently," summed up Saqib.

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