UAE extended their unbeaten run to four matches in the World Cricket League Division 2, completing an impressive eight-wicket win chasing just 87 against Uganda at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai. The win ensures UAE a place in the tournament's final on April 15.
Choosing to bat, Uganda were not able to get any partnerships going; the best in the innings was a paltry 15 runs. Left-arm spinner Shadeep Silva struck early - as he has done through the tournament - removing opener Akbar Baig to trigger Uganda's collapse. The spinners continued to trouble the Uganda batsmen, with offspinner Mohammad Tauqir picking up two wickets in a five-over spell, and the side's second left-arm spinner, Ahmed Raza, running through the middle order with figures of 4 for 17 in 7.1 overs.
UAE were steady in their chase, knocking off the runs in just 17.2 overs. Opener Amjad Ali anchored the innings, finishing with 40 not out. Raza was Man of the Match for his four wickets, and said the fact the wicket had been played on a lot helped him. "This is the fourth time this wickets been played on and today it definitely helped me as a spinner," he said. "It's a good wicket and I felt I needed to prove myself today after a comparatively poor performance yesterday against Hong Kong.
"I don't think the conditions really helped Uganda, and we felt coming into this game that we had the upper hand as we beat them in the warm-up fixture we played before the event started. We'd really like to face Namibia in the final and beat them; it would be a great way to end the tournament."
Raza is likely to get his wish as Namibia moved on to six points, after they got the tournaments' highest total and beat Bermuda by 86 runs at the other ground of the Global Academy. With their impressive net run-rate, Nambia are out of reach of the other sides. Against Bermuda, they racked up 297 after electing to bat, with Ewald Steenkamp, Sarel Burger and Craig Williams all getting half-centuries. Steenkamp got 87 at the top of the order, and along with Burger, who got 59, gave the team a steady start. But the two had taken their time getting their runs and it needed Williams to play a whirlwind innings of 74 from 35 balls to get Namibia to a big total. Williams' knock ensured Nambia scored at 10 runs an over in their last 14 overs. He hit seven sixes in his innings and knocked the wind out of Bermuda.
The target always looked too stiff for Bermuda, and the loss of three early wickets didn't help. Dion Stovell tried keeping them abreast of the required-rate with his 73 off 67 balls, and Lionel Cann got 53, but Bermuda were bowled out in 42.3 overs for 211. Left-arm spinner Louis van der Westhuizen was the most successful of Namibia's bowlers, taking 4 for 14.
The loss means Bermuda have no chance of making the final, but they can still stay in the division by staying in the top four. Their coach David Moore was impressed with the attitude of the batsmen but felt they needed to last longer. "In terms of batting we set off like a house on fire with Stovell and Cann, but those boys should really be getting centuries," he said. "Our bowling was disappointing, it began very well but we just lost it."
Papa New Guinea's seamers Hitolo Areni and Rarva Dikana took seven wickets between them to help their side successfully defend 217 against Hong Kong at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. PNG picked up wickets at regular intervals, and only five of Hong Kong's batsmen got into double figures. Nizakat Khan got 55, and Najeeb Amar and Hussain Butt got thirties, but the rest of Hong Kong's batting crumbled and they fell 43 runs short. PNG's total was built on the back of Christopher Kent's 59 and Mahuru Dai's 43.