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December 11, 2009
The United Arab Emirates continued their successful tour of Namibia by beating the hosts in both the unofficial one-day fixtures at Windhoek. In the first match, played on December 10, the UAE chased down a target of 270 with two wickets remaining. After opting to field, as many as eight bowlers were used to try and keep Namibia to an achievable total. Fayyaz Ahmed struck early in the piece but the bowlers failed to get rid of the opener Raymond van Schoor, who scored 90 from 112 deliveries. He found support from Nicholaas Scholtz (58), with whom he added 125 for the third wicket. The pair was dismissed in relative succession, after which it took a 26-ball 42 from Tobias Verwey down the order to get the score past 250.
Partnerships were the key for UAE as they chased down their target. The openers Mohammad Iqbal (33) and Amjad Ali (35) put on 68, and the No. 3 and captain Khurram Khan compiled 48 to keep the momentum going. A brief wobble from No's 4 and 5 was smoothed over by the next pair of Amjad Javed (31) and Fayyaz, who finished the affair with an unbeaten 58 from 60 deliveries. Verwey was the most successful Namibian bowler with 3 for 49.
In the next match, played today, the UAE successfully defended a total of 271 to sweep the series. This time opting to bat, Khurram pushed himself down five places as his middle order found did the hard work. The openers didn't replicate their earlier success, but Arshad Ali's 75 and a brisk 71 from the wicketkeeper Abdul Rehman defied Namibia's bowlers. Sandwiched between those two half-centuries was a 34-ball 30 from Saqib Ali at No. 4. Moiz Shahid, on debut, made an unbeaten 17 from 13 balls from the No. 10 spot. Eight bowlers were used by home captain Craig Williams but none ultimately managed to do sufficient damage, even though the UAE were bowled out in 49.2 overs.
Namibia's attempt to level the series wasn't top stuff for the first 50 overs, but their chase began well. van Schoor's good touch was evident as he hit 65 and helped get the innings off to a 75-run start with Wessel Myburgh, playing just his second game. Then a couple run-outs dented the chase and it fell apart, even though Williams (46) and Scholtz (28) tried to keep the run rate in reasonable range. Williams fell to Fayyaz in the 40th over,leaving the score 182 for 4, and from here a series of wickets hampered Namibia's progress. The lower order never cut loose and they ended up falling 20 runs short.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?