Osama Khan of Kings YTCA UAE bowls during the match against the Switzerland U-18 team at Langston Cricket Club, Leicestershire.
Agnelo Rodrigues, Special Correspondent
The Kings YTCA UAE under-18 side got off to a winning start on the first day of their highly-anticipated UK tour by beating the Switzerland under-18 National Team in two T20 matches played at the Langston Cricket Club in Leicestershire.
Though it was a sunny morning the match could not be played on grass because of overnight rain. Captain Hamad Arshad of Kings YTCA therefore, decided to field after winning the toss. The UAE side managed to restrict Switzerland to 111 for 7 wickets which was comfortably chased down by Kings YTCA in 13 overs for the loss of just three wickets.
Leading from the front, Hamdan Tahir got a quick 40 runs for the Dubai team. Osama Khan clipped three wickets and alongside Hassan who had a double, the Kings YTCA lads made easy work of their opponents in the morning session of play.
Returning with figures of 3 for 20, Osama picked the Man of the Match award.
In the second match of the day the proceedings were none too different from the morning game though the tie was played on grass. Switzerland again batted first after captain Steve West won the toss. With all the UAE bowlers bowling exceptionally well, the Swiss side only managed to get 88 runs for the loss of 8 wickets, which was again easily chased down by Kings YTCA.
Osama was once again in the spotlight this time with the willow. Opening alongside Arjun he cracked three boundaries putting 20 runs on the board before he was bowled by Ishmael. Arjun stayed on at the crease and with two down, he saw UAE through in a little over 13 overs, this time losing just two wickets. Krish Sanklecha was the pick of the bowlers, returning with 3-15.
Skipper Hamad credited his team-mates for the fine performance.
“As a unit we fielded and bowled very well in both games. We bonded very well as a team. Everyone knew their game plan,” added the skipper who looks to carry the winning momentum into the remaining matches of the 10-day tour.
“The victory has given us a lot of confidence going into the next few days. It is a good way to kick off the tour. I hope to see a good tour from all our team,” said Hamad while voicing a word of praise for the opponents.
“Their opener (Eden) bowled a few extras but he had a lot of swing to show in the first game and in the second they bowled quite well too. They made it hard for us to score runs. Their fielding was also quite good,” said Hamad.
Meanwhile Switzerland’s coach Steve West was of the opinion that it was a great learning experience for his side which rarely gets an opportunity to play outdoor cricket, least of all play on grass.
“We don’t play much cricket, so it is always a good experience for us coming and playing outdoors and on grass wicket, because most of our cricket is indoors. Hope like usual we are a much better team on Friday than we are on Monday,” said West who has been a regular in England for a couple of years now.
“We first did our England tour in 2011 so we have been coming every year for our week of indulgent cricket. And it has been great fun. What’s different and really good is that these guys, a lot of them, have been together over the years, and though they live in different parts of Switzerland they know each other and this is unique for the kids. And so as a team they gel together really quickly. I like to see the improvement during the week,” he added, while disclosing that though Cricket Switzerland is doing their bit to promote the game, the task ahead is not so easy.
“We have half a dozen junior clubs in Switzerland grooming cricketing talent. The U-18 is a bit of a mix between the junior clubs and some of the guys playing in the adult league. This tour is a big point in the year for those interested in cricket.
“But the problem is that we don’t play competitive cricket. We don’t have enough players to have a competitive league, so all our matches are friendlies,” rued the coach while disclosing that he himself loves the sport and his son is a part of team which is touring this year.
The Kings YTCA UAE next play City Cricket Academy team in a 40-over match.
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