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UAE and Uganda battle for top spot

Both teams will compete in a four-day game, as well as one 50-over and two Twenty20 games

UAE and Uganda battle for top spot - Cricket News
Uganda will be hoping to consolidate its position at the top of the ICC Intercontinental Shield when it faces the UAE in Abu Dhabi between 20-23 January.

The African nation is currently at 20 points after an outright win over Bermuda by seven wickets in August 2009 while UAE is second after its win over Namibia by four wickets in December. The four-team ICC Intercontinental Shield competition will see a final played in Dubai from 25-28 November 2010.

Both teams will compete in a four-day game, as well as one 50-over and two Twenty20 games.

Uganda coach Mohammed Ebrahim Barney has been worried about the team's performance in recent matches and made it clear that more emphasis would be put on batting during all training sessions. He said: "UAE is going to come hard at us as it wants to take over the helm of the standings. We don't have all the time in the world. We have to practice every day and play as many trial games as possible."

"Against Kenya, we played well in the T20 series but disappointed in the 50-over matches. We were not very competitive in the batting department but we hope to improve on this aspect. This was mainly due to the many new faces on the team."

On key players in the current squad, he said: "In the batting department, Benjamin Musoke and Baig Akbar are experienced while Roger Mukasa has established himself as a good player and will be key against UAE. In the bowling department, Tabby Dennis, a player who started cricket just under three years ago, is showing signs of being a good player after his good bowling against Bermuda."

UAE goes into the four-day match knowing that a win will help it topple Uganda from the top of the table.

However, coach Colin Wells does not want to underestimate his opposition after its convincing win over Bermuda, and is training his squad three-times a week at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

He said: "I understand they have some aggressive batsmen and are superb in the field, so we will plan accordingly. We will play as a squad and I try to get every player to believe he is as important as the next, and may well find himself in a situation/partnership when he gets an opportunity to make a decisive, winning contribution. I do not believe in 'key' players but in players who do their jobs."

Wells agrees that the four-day format of the game truly tests players ability and temperament.

He said: "I cannot particularly say it is our natural format of the game as none of our domestic cricket is longer than a day. However, I think we have proved that we have enough talent and adaptability to formulate game plans and execute them successfully to be a force in this version of the game, as no doubt Namibia would testify."

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