Captain looks ahead to World Cricket League Division Two November 12, 2007

Saqib confident after Bermuda thrashing

Cricinfo staff

Saqib Ali, the UAE captain, says his win over Bermuda yesterday has given his team tremendous confidence ahead of the World Cricket League Division Two which gets underway in Namibia on November 24.

"The victory has lifted our spirits and has done a world of good to our confidence," Saqib said, reflecting on the 138-run win in Abdu Dhabi. "Obviously there was a situation where we could have ended up on the losing side and had it happened, it would have been the worst possible preparation for an important event like the World Cricket League.

"The victory was sweeter because of the way we earned it. We made a mess of things on the first two days, crawled our way out on the third day before delivering the killer's blow on the last day."

It was a fine match for Saqib on a personal level, notching 142 as UAE swept to a 138-run win over a pitiful Bermuda. Not a bad way in which to begin your captaincy tenure. "We killed two birds with one stone in this match - collected 14 points from a precarious position and had a much-needed match practice ahead of the World Cricket League," Saqib said. "The WCL Division Two is a tournament that will inch us closer to our dreams of playing in the 2011 World Cup."

Division Two of the WCL will be staged from November 24 and December 1. Other than UAE, Argentina, Uganda, Denmark, Oman and Namibia will take part.

While the bottom two teams will be relegated to Division Three, the top four teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier (formerly the ICC Trophy) in UAE in April 2009 where they will be joined by Kenya, Scotland, the Netherlands, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda. Reflecting on his team's victory over Bermuda, Saqib said: "I think there were three key moments that turned the tide in our favour.

"Firstly, Arshad and Naeemuddin Aslam gave us a glimmer of a hope by featuring in a 133-run partnership, secondly Arshad and I put on 155 for the fourth wicket in quick time, and lastly Irfan Ahmed bowled a superb opening spell on the fourth morning to claim 3 for 35, including the prized scalp of an in-form (David) Hemp.

"I think we were all over the place on the first two days because we are not used to playing four-day cricket. It was our first game in nearly two months but once we settled down, we showed that we definitely belong to this format provided we get regular matches.

"We have played well here and would have liked to take the momentum forward but the schedule is such that our next game is after two months. It's very hard on the players to perform as individuals and as a team."