United Arab Emirates 148 for 3 (Waseem 50, Rizwan 43, Scholtz 1-22) beat Namibia 141 for 8 (Wiese 55, Hameed 2-17, Zahoor 2-20) by seven runs.
It has taken UAE six matches in two tournaments, spread over eight years, but finally they have notched up a win at a T20 World Cup. They scored their second-highest tournament total and defended it fiercely, dismissing Namibia for...
From 69 for 7, Namibia had no business being in the Super 12s but they have got there, and got there by topping their group and breaking Dutch and Emirati hearts in the process. Namibia's win means both they and Sri Lanka advance, with Netherlands' hopes hinging on a UAE win and UAE being denied their first win at a T20 World Cup.
Actually, in a match to confound every writer of match reports, it was UAE who triumphed despite David Wiese and Ruben Trumpelmann putting on 80 off 56 balls for the eighth wicket after Namibia were 69 for 7. Namibia needed 14 runs off the final over, bowled by Muhammad Waseem, but Wiese was dismissed off the fourth ball and Namibia did not have enough muscle at the end.
The result matters most to Netherlands, who will advance in second place to the Super12s alongside Sri Lanka, with Namibia knocked out despite being the favourites. UAE will also depart the tournament, but with a some points to show for it.
They very nearly dropped their chance of victory when Waseem, who had set up UAE's total with a half-century and was tasked with bowling the 17th over, dropped Wiese off his own bowling on 33. Wiese slogged and the ball went straight up, giving Waseem time to get there but he could not hold on. He then bowled the final over and had Wiese well-caught by Alishan Sharafu at long-on - the ball was heading for six had Sharafu not timed his jump and held on - to end Namibia's chances. Incidentally, Waseem had bowled only 22 balls before in 19 T20 games and one of his three victims before Thursday was Wiese.
Earlier, on a surface that seemed to get better for batting as the ball got older, UAE's innings began with a slow burn but finished strongly. They were 58 for 1 in the first 10 overs and only reached 100 in the 16th over. But, they scored 51 runs off the last five overs to push the total close to 150 and notch up their second-highest total in T20 World Cups. Namibia's effort in the field was mostly disciplined but the left-armers JJ Smit and Jan Frylinck conceded 69 runs in seven overs between them while opening bowler Ben Shikongo only delivered one over, the 15th.
In contrast, the UAE's captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan made some inspired decisions in the field. Basil Hameed became the first bowler to deliver three successive overs in the powerplay in Geelong in this tournament and took two wickets to leave Namibia on 26 for 3 inside five overs. Karthik Meiyappan removed Namibia's captain Gerhard Erasmus and ran out Smit to open up the middle-order. From 46 for 5, even with David Wiese to come, Namibia could not find a way back and that was underlined when Zahoor Khan was brought back in the 13th over. He took two wickets in his second over to leave Namibia in tatters but Wiese and Trumplemann resurrected their cause only to fall short in the end.
Waseem leads the way
UAE's most accomplished batter anchored their innings with the right mix of energy and aggression to set them up for a competitive score. He found his first boundary when he went down on one knee to sweep Bernard Scholtz over deep backward square and then worked the the ball around through a quiet period before showing off his strong footwork against Jan Frylinck.
Waseem advanced down the track to push him over mid-off and then straight back over his head for one of the group's biggest sixes. His fifty came off 40 balls and despite the slow scoring rate, Waseem maintained a strike rate of over 100 and he did that by running well. He ran 16 singles and six twos and shared partnerships of 39 for the first wicket and 58 for the second to give UAE a base to build on.
The UAE entered the final two overs on 115 for 3 and were still being kept fairly quiet but with 140-plus in their sights, had to hit out. Hameed began the assault when he carefully ran Wiese wide of Zane Green to third for four and then tucked into a short ball and pulled it over deep square for six. Wiese's final over cost 12 runs but the best for the UAE was still to come. JJ Smits was preferred over Ben Shikongo to deliver the 20th over and immediately missed his yorker.
Rizwan sent a waist-high full-toss over fine leg for six. He then ran three to put Hameed back on strike and he finished by whacking a length ball over midwicket and then reverse-scooping another over the wicket-keeper's head. In between Smit got one in the right place but his final over went for 21. UAE scored 33 in the last two overs.
Namibia begin to bottle it
Namibia made a nervy start to their reply as UAE made good use of a short-ball strategy upfront. Stephen Baard faced five of the balls from Junaid Siddique: got one away for a single, mistimed another, swung and missed at a third, sent the fourth to deep third for four and then inside-edged to give Ahmed Raza at short cover catching practice. Michael van Lingen faced three from Hameed, cut the first one for four, defended the second and then tried to hit the third over deep backward square but found Sharafu, who was perfectly positioned for the catch.
But the biggest blow came when Rizwan opted to keep Hameed on for a third over in the powerplay and Jan-Nicol Loftie-Eaton missed a sweep. Though it looked like the ball was going down leg, Rizwan was persuaded to review and ball-tracking showed it would go on to hit the stumps. Namibia were 26 for 3 after five overs.
Karthik's over of mania...
Karthik took a hat-trick against Sri Lanka and made the major incisions into the Namibian line-up and will leave this tournament having made a name for himself. He was brought on to bowl the eighth over and foxed Erasmus with a back-of-a-hand delivery outside off that the Namibian captain made room to slice way and was bowled instead. Three balls later, Smit pushed the ball to a vacant mid-wicket region and wanted two runs. But Frylinck turned down the second, so Smit had to head back to the non-striker's crease. By then, Karthik had chased the ball and fired a throw to the bowler's end, leaving Smit short of his ground and furious.
...and his other over of mania
Namibia entered the final five overs on 85 for 7, needing 64 runs. That may not have seem completely improbable given that UAE scored 51 in their last five, but with only three wickets in hand, it was going to take some doing. Pressure was building on both sides and UAE were first to let it affect them when Siddique misfielded on the sweeper cover boundary to turn what should have been a single to Wiese into four. Wiese kept strike but then gave it up with a single, clearly trusting his partner, Trumpelmann. He got out the slog and scored 12 runs off the next three balls, all with the same shot, including a four and a six. The over cost Meiyappan 18 runs and shifted momentum to Namibia.