Dubai: Skipper Rohan Mustafa’s brilliant 96 came in a losing cause as the UAE failed to record a clean sweep over Namibia as the hosts prevailed in the second match of the two-match ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship at Windhoek by four wickets on Saturday.
UAE had won the first match of the series by six wickets on Thursday.
Mustafa couldn’t hide his disappointment as his team ended up on the losing side. His 96 runs came off 134 balls and featured nine boundaries and two sixes.
Speaking to Gulf News from Namibia after the match, Mustafa said: “More than missing my century, I was disappointed at my team losing the match. The defeat was very upsetting.”
UAE riding on Mustafa’s knock, Gulam Shabber’s 71 and Shaiman Anwar’s 50 had posted an impressive 272 for 7 in 5 overs. Namibia managed to reach the target with seven balls to spare losing six wickets.
UAE earlier seemed to be cruising towards victory after they had reduced Namibia to 130 for 5. Namibia captain Sarel Burger hit an unbeaten half century and put on 96 runs for the sixth wicket with Gerhard Erasmus, who scored a splendid 77 runs before being run out by Mustafa. Jonathan Smit hit a 13-ball unbeaten 22 to ensure Namibia victory.
Though UAE had beaten Namibia in the four day Intercontinental Cup and also in the first One day match, Mustafa called on his team to keep working hard. “We are doing well but we need more practice matches. Exposure against competitive teams is vital,” he added.
It may be recalled that UAE finished in the bottom half of the WCL Championship and got relegated to Division Two of the championship along with Namibia due to their earlier unimpressive performances.
“We are flying back and will work harder on our weaknesses and perform better. The coming four months are very important to us and we want to progress through consistent performances,” said Mustafa.
UAE’s young opener Chirag Suri too played a role in the team’s solid batting performance as he chipped in with 27 runs and helped put on an 88-run opening partnership with Mustafa. Wicketkeeper Shabber then came up with a run-a-ball 71 and the UAE were at one stage 251 for 2 in 45 overs but lost five wickets for 21 runs in the last five overs.
Brief scores: Namibia bt UAE by four wkts. UAE 272 for 7 in 5 overs (Rohan Mustafa 96, Chirag Suri 27, Gulam Shabber 71, JN Frylinck 3 for 37) bt Namibia 274 for 6 in 48.5 overs (Louis Petrus van der Westhuizen 24, Lohandre Louwrens 48, Merwe Erasmus 77, Sarel Burger 57n.o, Jonathan Smit 22n.o).