Burger's Namibia humble UAE
Namibia 280 for 7 (L Burger 61, Scholtz 57, Amjad 2-27) beat UAE 231 for 9 (Fayyaz Ahmed 53*, Naeemuddin 53, Klazinga 3-44) by 49 runs
Any expectation that the Super Eights would run to form was emphatically quashed with a string of upsets to leave the final phase of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers appealingly open. With Afghanistan shocking Ireland by one wicket and Canada beating Kenya, Namibia - winless and bottom of the table - managed to upset UAE who before today were handily placed in fifth position.
UAE, so impressive in their defeat of Afghanistan a couple of days ago, looked tired in the field and lazy with the bat. Namibia, on the other hand, bowled exceptionally - particularly Gerrie Snyman, who was economical and surprisingly slippery, and Louis Klazinga. The pair put UAE immediately on the back foot in their chase of 281, bowling a tidy line and gaining just enough swing to keep both batsmen and slips interested.
Arshad Ali was first to depart, trapped leg-before trying to whip Klazinga through midwicket. Amjad Javed, the opening bowler and batsman who smashed a remarkable 164 last week, couldn't cope with Snyman's disciplined length, feathering a simple catch behind.
In strode UAE's star batsman, Saqib Ali, but he too was uncomfortable against the pace and bounce of Snyman and an ill-judged pull skied a simple catch to the wicketkeeper. Further evidence of UAE's Jekyll and Hyde temperament came when Nithin Gopal attempted the most ill-judged of runs and was left stranded. In the blink of an eye, Namibia had reduced them to 38 for 4 in 12 overs.
There followed a steadying partnership of 107 between Naeemuddin Aslam and Sameer Nayak, with Aslam stroking 50 from 68. The pair played with a coolness that UAE's top-order lacked; calmly nudging singles and working the spinners intelligently into the gaps, though it was to have no impact on the end result.
Aslam swept well and took the occasional risk, skipping down to the spinners and striking five fours, two of which found their way over midwicket. But at the halfway point UAE still needed 170 runs, and when Nayak was trapped leg-before by the persistent Louis Burger, their hopes relied on a gifted but excitable tail-end who imploded, rather than exploded.
Namibia were no less impressive with their batting, recovering from 8 for 2 to post a sizeable 280 for 7 with Louis Burger cracking a 60-ball 61. Burger was joined in an exhilarating stand of 115 with Nicolaas Sholtz (57 from 59) as UAE's usually disciplined attack offered gift after gift.
Burger's 61 was the perfect captain's innings: initially calm and controlled, he then expanded his strokeplay and was particularly effective driving straight down the ground. The icing on the cake for Namibia's innings came from Ian van Zyl who smacked 32 from just 14 balls, including two huge sixes over long-on as UAE trudged off to contend with their incensed coach, Colin Wells.
Namibia have gradually developed into a force to be reckoned with in four-day cricket, particularly impressive in last year's Intercontinental Cup, but their one-day form has often lurched from one disaster to another. Today they showed their potential, though whether they can maintain it against more talented sides is a question for later in the competition.
Will Luke is assistant editor of Cricinfo