Scotland is currently fifth in the eight-team league with 23 points, while UAE has lost all its three previous matches and is yet to get off the mark. With a maximum of 20 points up for grabs, an outright win will lift Scotland ahead of Hong Kong into fourth place. If UAE secures full points, it will join Papua New Guinea and Namibia on 20 points.
With the winner of this edition of the tournament getting a chance to play four Tests against the bottom-ranked Test nation (two home and two away matches) in the 2018 ICC Test Challenge, both the teams have a lot at stake as far as the tournament is concerned. Should the Intercontinental Cup winner also win the Test Challenge, it will secure Test status until the next Test Challenge, which will be held in 2022.
Both Scotland and UAE last played a four-day fixture in January, when they featured in third-round action. While the Scotland v Hong Kong match in Mong Kok was abandoned due to rain, UAE lost to the Netherlands by four wickets in Abu Dhabi.
“Although this season has been very lean in terms of international fixtures, our squad has enjoyed the opportunity to train consistently and play a full part in the domestic programme with their club and regional teams,” said Grant Bradburn, the Scotland coach. “On the back of two weeks of ‘A’ team cricket, we look forward to taking on UAE in this ICC Intercontinental Cup and ICC World Cricket League Championship.”
The two teams have previously met thrice in the Intercontinental Cup, but only their last encounter produced a result - Scotland winning by seven wickets in Sharjah. The other two matches in Sharjah (in 2005-06) and Ayr (in 2007-08) ended in draws.
Preston Mommsen, the captain, is Scotland’s leading run-scorer with 100 runs from two matches at 33.33. Among the bowlers, Josh Davey has taken six wickets in his only appearance, while Con de Lange, Safyaan Sharif and Alasdair Evans have taken five wickets apiece in two matches.
The UAE side includes three uncapped players in Krishnachandran Karat, the allrounder, Mohammad Usman, the left-hand batsman, and Mohammad Qasim, the middle-order batsman. But Amjad Javed’s team will rely on Shaiman Anwar, the in-form batsman, to shore up the batting.
Javed admitted that the match against Scotland would be challenging but added that his side would approach it positively. “Every international match is tough in its own right and while we will respect Scotland, we will try to play as hard as possible,” he said. “We will approach this game with a conviction that we can win it and then take it forward from there.”
It would help that UAE recently took a significant step towards full professionalism by introducing two-year central contracts for eight players, including Javed and Anwar.
“We have a squad which has mostly contracted players, meaning they have trained properly for the upcoming match. We have spent time in England and I think the batsmen have made optimum use of this opportunity.”
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Kyle Coetzer (vice-capt), Richie Berrington, Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, David Murphy, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Craig Wallace and Mark Watt.
UAE: Amjad Javed (capt), Shaiman Anwar (vice-capt), Ahmed Raza, Fayyaz Ahmed, Laxman Sreekumar, Krishnachandran Karat, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Usman, Mohammad Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider and Youdhin Punja.