ICC Intercontinental Cup

Dhaniram bats Canada into match-winning position

The United Arab Emirates was staring down the barrel at the close of day two of its ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada at Toronto

James Fitzgerald

Number 10 batsman Kevin Sandher on his way to a crucial 64 on day two © Eddie Norfolk
The United Arab Emirates was staring down the barrel at the close of day two of its ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada at Toronto. Having been dismissed for 112, the UAE struggled to contain the home side as Sunil Dhaniram led the hosts to a huge first innings lead of 328.
Captain Dhaniram, who is standing in as skipper for the unavailable Ashish Bagai, top scored with an unbeaten 141 as Canada made 450, putting it securely in the driving seat.
Perhaps reeling from its disappointing defeat to a Peter Borren-inspired Netherlands last week, Canada was in no mood to show mercy to the UAE. First, on Friday the Canada bowling ripped through the UAE line-up and then the batsmen did their job and, with two days to go, it will take a mammoth effort if Arshad Ali and his men are to avoid defeat.
When they resume on day three, they will do so at 40-1, having lost the wicket of Gayan Silva and still 298 runs behind.
And interim coach for Canada Pubudu Dassanayake wants his team to keep pushing for victory, no quarter being given.
"We have to keep pressurising them (the UAE batsmen)," said Dassanayake.

Sunil Dhanriam, Canada's captain, top-scored with 141 runs not out v UAE. © Eddie Norfolk
"It's important that our bowlers bowl in the right areas and we hold our catches. We need early wickets - I am happy with how we have performed so far but we have to maintain the pressure," he said.
Dhaniram's innings was certainly the highlight of day two. His 141 came off 171 balls and included 25 fours. His 180-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Kevin Sandher is surely one of the most impressive of ICC Intercontinental Cup history.
Although batting at number 10, Sandher is by no means a mug with the bat and has played several important innings for his country. None more so than Saturday's. His career-best 64 came off 115 balls and included seven fours and one beautifully driven straight six. It helped bring Canada from 270-8 up to 450-9 and his support gave Dhaniram the chance to bat the UAE out of contention.
Canada had been given a solid start by the top and middle order with Asif Mulla (87), Trevin Bastiampillai (71) and Qaiser Ali (42) all playing their part.
UAE's hard-working pace bowlers Zaheed Shah and Javed Ismail each took four wickets and each bowled more than 30 overs. To make matters worse for Arshad, his opening bowler Ahmed Nadeem withdrew from the field on the first day and so far has been unable to play any further part due to injury.

Trevin Bastiampillai blossomed on day two to make 71 runs. © Eddie Norfolk
Play resumes on Sunday at 10.30 with UAE on 40-1 knowing a huge challenge lies ahead. Captain Arshad (17 not out) and Shadeep Silva (17 not out) are still there.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception three years ago and now the ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada earlier this year in the 2006-07event.
The final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 will take place in November 2008 at a venue yet to be decided.

James Fitzgerald is ICC Communications Officer