UAE have all but wrapped up their place in the finals of the World Cricket League Division 2, after a third straight victory. Their 19-run victory against Hong Kong at the Global Cricket Academy puts them on six points, and with a net run-rate of +1.090 it would take a dramatic turn of events to see two sides overtake them. On Monday, Amjad Ali and Saqib Ali scored half-centuries to help UAE get to 227.
Hong Kong lost early wickets in their chase, before 16-year-old Mark Chapman got them back in the match with his second half-century of the tournament. His partnership with Irfan Ahmed helped Hong Kong recover from 52 for 5 to 148 for 6, but the two were dismissed in the space of five overs and they fell short by 19 runs. Shadeep Silva caused the early damage, and finished with figures of 4 for 17 in his ten overs.
Hong Kong are stuck on two points and coach Charlie Burke said the next game, against Papa New Guniea, was a must-win. "It's the final for us," he said. "There's no doubt, we need to learn from today; chasing is never easy. Today, we didn't have one of the top six batsmen in the final overs of the game. Some crucial decision making in regards to running between wickets, coupled with losing wickets at the start of the innings meant we threw it away at the end."
Namibia completed a comprehensive eight-wicket thumping of Papua New Guinea with all of 34.4 overs to spare, on the back of an explosive half-century by Craig Williams, in the World Cricket League Division Two in Dubai.
Choosing to bat, Papua New Guinea began poorly, losing half their side by the time they had 33 on the board. The right-arm/left-arm opening bowling combination of Louis Klazinga and Kola Burger caused most of the damage upfront. While the batsmen didn't recover from the early blows, left-arm spinner Louis van der Westhuizen built on Namibia's good start with the ball, stifling the middle order with figures of 3 for 4 off 5 overs. Jason Kila with 23 was the top scorer for Papua New Guinea, as they folded for 92.
Namibia threatened to make heavy weather of the paltry chase, being reduced to 5 for 2, before an unbeaten 90-run stand between Williams and Sarel Burger took them home. While Burger was patient to the point of being over-cautious, scoring 14 off 41 balls, Williams took the opposite approach. He smashed the bowlers around, stroking 10 fours and three sixes to bring the match to an early close.
PNG, who came up from Division 3 started with a win in the tournament, but after two losses, their coach Greg Campbell admitted their lack of experience was showing. "I think today they showed us how much more experienced they are than us," he said. "We'll go home tonight and work on what went wrong and try to come back bigger and better than before."
Namibia were the only side to win while chasing on Monday, and their coach Johan Rudolph said it ended up being a good toss to lose. "We always like to bat first but it was probably the best thing today for us to lose the toss as it meant our bowlers could do a really good job," Rudolph said. "I'm pleased with the way Craig performed today, he is always an aggressive batsman and plays his own game out there. He had a great time with the bat during the I-Shield and has been the second highest-scoring batsman in the South African amateur league we play in; so his performance today was no surprise."
Uganda produced a fine all-round performance to beat Bermuda by 74 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Uganda's top-order batsmen all got starts, after captain Davis Arinaitwe chose to bat, but none of them could go on to score big. Wicketkeeper Lawrence Sematimba top scored with an unbeaten 66, putting on a 91-run fourth-wicket stand with Benjamin Musoke to steer his side to a competitive 249. The Bermuda bowlers did not have a stand-out performer, sharing the seven wickets that fell in the innings around.
Bermuda lost wickets in a hurry early on in their chase, with Charles Waiswa, Danniel Ruyange and Deusdedit Muhumuza combining to reduce them to 41 for 4 in the 13th over. Jason Anderson and Lionel Cann briefly steadied the innings with a 74-run partnership, but once the pair was dismissed by seamer Roger Mukasa, there was not much resistance on offer. Mukasa went on to pick up two more wickets, to finish with figures of 4 for 21 off seven overs, as the innings folded on 175.