India defeat UAE by 116 runs

India defeated UAE by 116 runs in their first match of the Asia Cup tournament in Sri Lanka today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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It was a job for India's famed batting line-up, but eventually the bowlers wrapped up India's opening match of the Asia Cup tournament against minnows United Arab Emirates at Dambulla today. Chasing 261 for victory, UAE were bowled out by India for 144. Irfan Pathan and Sachin Tendulkar picked up three wickets each, Balaji two and Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble picked up one each. Rahul Dravid has been named the Man of the Match. Spirited effort Though a spirited team effort by UAE saw India lose wickets at regular intervals after Sourav Ganguly elected to bat, a magnificent 104 off just 93 balls by vice captain Rahul Dravid lifted India to 260 for 6. Chasing a target of 261, UAE never got into the groove, with the Indian bowlers giving them little room to manoeuvre. Mohammed Tauqir, however put up an impressive lone stand, notching up 55 runs before he was stumped by Dravid. Bowlers attack UAE batsmen First to strike was Irfan Pathan, snaring the wicket of Arshad Ali early on for a duck, with Rahul Dravid gloving the ball. Pathan struck again, first picking up Asim Saeed (12) and then claiming Naeemuddin leg before, again for a duck. Then Balaji struck next claiming Fahad Usman leg before.Balaji struck a second time soon after and Khuram Khan was declared leg before. Then Zaheer Khan brought into the attack claimed the sixth wicket – Syed Maqsood caught by VVS Laxman. Spinner Anil Kumble then picked up the seventh UAE wicket, leaving the minnows struggling. Then Tendulkar joined in the attack and bowled Abdul Rehman for 1. Mighty Indians shaken Earlier, vice captain Rahul Dravid's 104 took India to 260 after the United Arab Emirates shook up the mighty Men in Blue. It was a match which was supposed to have been a cake-walk for India, but nothing went according to plan. Virender Sehwag was run out in the very first over of the match – the result of a mix up with Sachin Tendulkar. The famed Indian batting line-up came to naught as the underdogs picked up wickets of five top batsmen. Tendulkar had the perfect opportunity to start the new season with his 38th ODI hundred. But disaster struck a second time for India, and Tendulkar (18) was caught by Fahad Usman off Asim Saeed, who goes on to get the US$ 1,000 promised by Arab cricket officials. UAE bowlers shine The Arab bowlers surprised everyone and the young seamers swung the ball around consistently.VVS Laxman played some brilliant shots with a six followed by an immediate four. But he didn't last long enough at the crease and though Ganguly tried to last with a steady 55, he too conceded his wicket after facing 102 deliveries. Dravid plays 'The Wall' Dravid though kept the runs coming for India, nudging the ball for singles and doubles playing the all-too familiar role of India's anchor. He lost the company of Yuvraj Singh (22) and was eventually bowled by Rizwan Ahmed, but not before steering India to a comfortable total with his ninth ODI century. The Indians left out off-spinner Harbhajan Singh preferring to go into their opening match with three pacemen – Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji.