UAE 153 for 4 (Mustafa 56, Anwar 53) beat Namibia 152 for 7 (Kotze 50, Naveed 3-35) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
'We can be more clinical' - Owais Shah
UAE interim coach Owais Shah reflects on his team's six-wicket win over Namibia in the Desert T20 Challenge, and areas of improvement
Namibia made for overly generous guests, dropping three chances and giving away plenty more runs in misfields to allow tournament hosts UAE to escape with a last-ball win by six wickets. The match was fairly sloppy from beginning to end but Namibia were determined to show they could match, if not surpass, any errors UAE made in the field.
One of the few blemish free individual performances came from fast bowler Mohammad Naveed, who reeled in the three biggest fish in the Namibia batting order. Man of the Match Naveed clean bowled openers Louis van der Westhuizen and Stephan Baard with a pair of full and straight deliveries inside the first three overs before coming back late to dismiss Gerrie Snyman with a bit of good fortune - caught at midwicket off a meaty waist-high full toss - denying Namibia their finishing trump card.
Despite the last-ball nature of the finish, UAE held wickets in hand throughout the chase and generally looked in control. Rohan Mustafa steered the first leg with a half-century before Shaiman Anwar took the baton and carried the chase into the last over with a fifty of his own until he was run out off the penultimate ball. Muhammad Usman then skipped down the track off the final ball and scooped Jan Frylinck back over his head with everyone in the circle to seal victory.
Lefty batting duel
JP Kotze starred in Namibia's innings with an impressively clean power-hitting display. Kotze had three fours and two sixes - one each slog swept over midwicket against left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza and legspinner Imran Haider - in his 50 off 42 balls. However, he perished at a crucial time to Zahoor Farooqi as the medium pacer landed one in the blockhole at the start of the 18th, the first of three wickets in seven balls that also accounted for fellow set batsman Sarel Burger for 32 and was bookended by the wicket of Snyman.
Mustafa looked in decent touch for UAE opening the chase and ended with the game's top score of 56 off 34 balls. When he middled anything full it usually went screeching to the mid-off rope. Even the ones he didn't connect cleanly with found ways to evade stumps and fielders to on the way to the fine leg and third man boundaries.
Namibia's best hope of containing Mustafa and Shaiman came in the form of left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz. He was brought on by Burger after the Powerplay and bowled a tidy three-run eighth over, but Mustafa triggered an assault in the 10th to hit him out of the attack. The second ball of the over pitched full on his legs and was slog-swept over Burger at deep midwicket for Mustafa's lone six.
Next ball, Mustafa hit him a bit straighter toward wide long on for what should have been a single but a poor misfield by Frylinck resulted in four. A single put Shaiman back on strike and he brought out the sweep to find the gap behind square for four more as part of a 17-run over. Scholtz wasn't used again.
Dew you want another chance?
Namibia dropped three chances and missed out on at least two run outs in the field. The last ball of the 10th by Scholtz was hit by Shaiman to deep midwicket for one but Namibia failed to make Mustafa pay for seeking a greedy second run when the relay to wicketkeeper Kotze pulled him high and away from the stumps, despite Mustafa being well short of his ground after being sent back by Shaiman.
The most grievous errors came in the 15th over, though, when Shaiman was dropped twice in the space of four balls by Craig Williams on 25 and 26. The first came off a good length ball flicked loosely to Williams at head height standing at midwicket in the circle, which he juggled before spilling. After getting back on strike, Shaiman got a waist-high full toss and in an overexcited state swung off balance to produce a top-edge. The ball swirled toward Williams again at midwicket, who shuffled to his left before spilling Shaiman once more. Shaiman rubbed salt into the wound in the following over by driving Snyman's offspin twice over long-on for six.
In the final over with three needed off three balls, Shaiman pushed for a suicidal two to long-on. Gerhard Erasmus fielded quickly and fired an accurate throw on one bounce to Kotze, who fluffed the take with Shaiman three yards short coming back for the second run to draw scores level. When asked after the game what was the cause for all the fielding lapses, Burger attributed it to trouble gripping the ball due to the dew factor at night.
Shaiman's charmed innings ended next ball when he took on Erasmus again from mid-on but this time a direct hit at the non-striker's end delayed the winning run until the final delivery struck by Usman. It was the type of quality fielding moment that was too little, too late for Namibia.