UAE v Nepal, Intercontinental Cup, Sharjah, 2nd day March 26, 2004

Ali Asad's 9 for 74 puts UAE in charge

UAE 293 for 9 dec and 140 for 5 (Asim Saeed 48) lead Nepal 213 (Raju Khadka 76, Ali Asad 9-74) by 220 runs

Ali Asad: the ninth best return on first-class debut © ICC
An outstanding display of fast-medium bowling from Ali Asad put United Arab Emirates in the driving seat after two days of their Asia group match against Nepal in the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Asad finished with figures of 9 for 74 as Nepal were bowled out for 213, 80 runs in arrears. By the close they had battled back to reduce UAE to 140 for 5. Asad was a little unlucky not to finish with all ten wickets - he had two catches put down off off his bowling.

Nepal resumed on 23 for 3, and Asad soon reduced them to 95 for 5 before Raju Khadka (67) and Manoj Katuwal (24) stopped the rot with a sixth-wicket stand of 59 - aided by Asad taking a well-earned breather. The stand was ended when Katuwal tried to give the slow left-armer Rizwan Latif the charge and was stumped by Mohammad Nadeem, and then the refreshed Asad returned to take the last four wickets.

The UAE's second innings started unsteadily when Raju Khadka dismissed Arshad Ali (2) and Abdulla Hanif (9) cheaply. Asim Saeed (48) and Naeemuddin Aslam (24) made untroubled progress before Naeemuddin was unnecessarily run out, and thereafter UAE never quite re-established outright supremacy.

If Nepal can grab early wickets tomorrow they have an outside chance of securing victory - but they will have to work out how to play Asad if that is to happen.