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Kenya and UAE prepare for first round battle

Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will meet in the first round of ICC Intercontinental Cup on Thursday (28 July 2011) in Nairobi

Kenya and UAE prepare for first round battle - Cricket News
United Arab Emirates' cricketer Amjad Ali.
Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will meet in the first round of ICC Intercontinental Cup on Thursday (28 July 2011) in Nairobi.

Kenya's new captain Collins Obuya will be leading a new-look side for the Africans for this tournament with a number of new faces mixed with some old-hands.

UAE will be making a return to the competition, having last year competed in and reached the final of the ICC Intercontinental Shield, and Khurram Khan's men will want a strong start to its new campaign.

Captain Obuya said: "It has been a while since we played UAE but they have a very experienced side in comparison to our younger, newer squad.

"We last hosted them for one-day matches and we are challenge to their bowling attack which is strong and tends to win matches for them, especially on spinner-friendly wickets. They might have played in the I-Shield last year but they will sure give us a tough challenge."

"To some extent we have home advantage because we are used to pitch conditions while the weather here is very different from the UAE thus playing a key role to our game plan. We must exploit the home advantage point to garner first points for this round of the tournament," added the 29-year-old all-rounder.

"We've all been training hard ahead of this fixture and would have also been in a team camp before the fixture so I think we'll be well prepared for taking on the UAE.

"We are coming off playing the shorter version of the game and so the longer version will need a lot more energy and concentration and we will need to be at our best to register first win in the Intercontinental Cup competition this year," he concluded.

The UAE side has some familiar faces to Associate cricket in the form of bowler Nasir Aziz while Saqib Ali leads a strong batting line-up along with the likes of captain Khurram Khan.

Khan said: "Having played quite a lot of 20-over cricket in the past months we have now turned our attention to the longer format and have been working hard ahead of this first I Cup fixture.

"Everyone in the side is very happy, we've had some good performances in the recent times but we need to do better in the format and we're definitely looking forward to returning to playing with the red ball."

"We've seen Kenya play before but we're a strong side and will be ready for whatever challenges they offer to us. We do have a strong spin attack but at the same time our fast bowlers, Amjad Javed and Shoaib Sarwar help gives us a balanced side.

"We have a strong team which is very mature and I believe if we remain committed and focused we can do well in this match and beyond," added the 40-year-old all-rounder.

Ahead of the ICC Intercontinental Cup match, the sides split a two-match 50-over series 1-1. Kenya won the opening match on Monday by 66 runs (D/L method), before the UAE claimed a four-wicket victory on Tuesday.

Kenya squad: Collins Obuya (captain); Rakep Patel; Tanmay Mishra; Runish Gudka; Hiren Varaiya; Lucas Oluoch; Dominic Wesonga; Karen Kaul; Amit Shukla; Rajesh Bhudia; Rajesh Varsani; Ramesh Mepani; Mansukh Jesani (wicket keeper); Samarth Patel

UAE squad: Khurram Khan (captain); Mohammed Touqir; Arshad Ali; Saqib Ali; Abdul Rehman; Ahmed Raza; Amjad Javed; Shadeep Silva; Amjad Ali; Shaiman Anwar; Nasir Aziz; Shoaib Sarwar; Wasim Bari; Palekar Hamid

Umpires: Russell Tiffin and Shaun George both of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires

Match referee: Dev Govindjee

Meanwhile Ireland's ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia, which was postponed from June 28, will now take place at Stormont, Belfast on 6-9 September 2011.

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