Ramprakash hundred inspires Surrey
Surrey looked in some trouble in their Pro ARCH Trophy encounter with UAE in Abu Dhabi, but finally overhauled their target of 270 thanks to an unbeaten 127 from Mark Ramprakash.
The veteran batsman has been struggling with a back problem he sustained on the flight over, but showed few signs of it hampering him in his 205-minute stay at the crease.
He found willing allies in captain Usman Afzaal (20), Matthew Spriegel (24) and Chris Jordan, all of whom played their part in the five-wicket victory.
The UAE surprised many after their comprehensive defeat by Middlesex yesterday, by reaching 269 for six, and then bowling accurately to keep Surrey in check.
Zahid Shah took 2-61 in his nine overs, including opener Michael Brown with his first ball - while the effective bouncy bowling action of off-spinner Owais Hameed accounted for Stewart Walters and Spriegel.
But Ramprakash showed why he is the best batsman in county cricket by pacing his innings to perfection. His 127 came off 126 balls, containing seven fours and two sixes.
It was thanks to a late onslaught by Jordan that Surrey were able to get anywhere near their final score of 270 for five, after they had problems keeping up with the required run-rate early in the innings.
The all-rounder scored 43 from 51 balls to make sure the result went Surrey's way, making the most of two free-hits in the 44th over, bowled by Zahid.
The final powerplay was taken to the last five overs of the innings and proved decisive, as Surrey eventually knocked off the runs with six balls to spare.
Chris Schofield had earlier been the most economical of Surrey's attack, bowling his 10 overs straight through for 1-35 in a much-improved performance from Wednesday.
He varied his pace and his lengths well, with his only bad ball – a rank long hop – getting the treatment it deserved when Saqib Ali hit it through third man for his first boundary.
It was one of eight fours in Saqib's innings as he played a captain's knock in top-scoring with 92 not out off 86 balls, combining in a 53-run partnership with Nitin Gopal for the fourth wicket.
The pair pushed the spinners around for singles and latched on to anything wide to send it to the boundary, before Nitin was stumped by Gary Wilson off the bowling of Schofield for a magnificent 74 off 78 balls.
Surrey's ground fielding has been the most impressive of all the teams on show in the tournament, with fast reactions and plenty of enthusiasm pervading through the team.
It was summed up by an excellent catch by Schofield off Jordan to dismiss Ravi Verma. The ball was hit high into the air and he managed to hold on to it over his head whilst running backwards in a remarkable display of athleticism.
Jordan and Alex Tudor both finished with 2-55 to claim the bowling honours for the visitors.