Ashraful leads Bangladesh to comfortable win over UAE
by AFP

Ground:Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Scorecard:Bangladesh v United Arab Emirates
Player:Khurram Khan, Raqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful
Event:Asia Cup 2008

DateLine: 24th June 2008


Captain Mohammad Ashraful hit a sparkling century to help Bangladesh crush United Arab Emirates by 96 runs in their Asia Cup Group A match at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Tuesday.


Ashraful hit a 126-ball 109 for his second one-day hundred and added 141 runs for the second wicket with Raqibul Hasan (83) to take his team to 300-8 before the bowlers bundled UAE out for 204 in 45.4 overs.


UAE were never really in the hunt, losing wickets at regular intervals. Only opener Arshad Ali (41) and Khurrum Ali (78) offered any resistance before the Bangladesh bowlers who unleashed tight line and length.


The 37-year-old Multan-born Khurrum hit eight boundaries during his 81-ball knock for his maiden fifty in his third one-day international.


Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak was the pick of Bangladeshi bowlers with 3-20.


But it was Ashraful who lit up Bangladesh's campaign in the Asia Cup, a title they have never won.


Ashraful smashed eight boundaries to overcome a long slump in form. His first one-day hundred came in Bangladesh's famous win over world champions Australia at Cardiff in 2005.


Hasan hit nine boundaries during his 63-ball knock.


Ashraful said he was delighted at his return to form.


"I knew it was matter of time that I return to form and I hope this form remains with me in the tougher games to come because we want to do well in this Asia Cup," said Ashraful, whose team take on title holders Sri Lanka on Wednesday.


Ashraful ensured Bangladesh made full use of a placid pitch after losing opener Nazimuddin for two in the third over.


But he found an able ally in opener Tamim Iqbal (40) with whom he added 95 runs for the second wicket to steer Bangladesh on course for a big total.


UAE captain Saqib Ali used as many as eight bowlers in an effort to dislodge the Ashraful-Hasan stand.


Once Ashraful and Hasan were dismissed within two runs of each other, Bangladesh had a minor slump, losing Alok Kapali (one) and Mashrafe Mortaza (three) in quick succession.


Paceman Zahid Shah was the pick of the UAE bowlers with 3-49.


Sri Lanka are the other team in Group A. Pakistan, India and Hong Kong are placed in Group B. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League where every team plays three matches to decide the July 6 finalists.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)