Basil Hameed
Basil Hameed played a stunning knock to guide UAE to victory over Namibia. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE pulled off a thrilling three-wicket victory over Namibia to boost their hopes in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 contest at the ICC Academy on Tuesday.

In a game that saw the fortunes swing to both the ends of the spectrum, late order batters Basil Hameed and Kashif Daud a pulled the UAE out of deep trouble with a seventh-wicket partnership of 148 runs, after being reduced to 53 for six in the 20 overs after chasing a victory target of 207.

“Fantastic win, considering that we were 53 for six and to come out of that hole is simply amazing. Basil and Kashif played outstanding innings,” a relieved UAE coach Robin Singh told Gulf News after the victory.

Robin Singh, UAE coach

Earlier, Namibian all-rounder David Wiese stitched together a 115-run eighth-wicket partnership with Jan Frylinck after UAE medium-pacers Zahoor Khan and Junaid Siddique breathed fire with a three-wicket and two-wicket hauls respectively to reduce Namibia to 83 for seven.

“We let Namibia off the hook after having them for 83 for seven and gave away too many runs in the end. Having said, to keep Namibia to around 200 on a good batting wicket is an excellent effort,” the former Indian all-rounder said. “Zahoor and Junaid bowled exceptionally well and put us in a very good position. Though the other bowlers chipped in, the damage was done by these two.”

Narrow loss in opener

It was an important win for UAE in the tri-series, also involving Oman, which forms as the qualification pathway to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India. UAE suffered a narrow 12-run loss to table-toppers Oman in the opener on Saturday, the hosts only loss in recent times. With Namibia beating Oman in the next contest, all three teams have one win each and only two points separate third-placed UAE (12) and Namibia, who are in fifth spot.

UAE take on Oman on Wednesday in the second round, which will be the key to UAE fortunes. However, after having beaten Oman twice and tying the last match of the three-game series last month, the hosts will be looking forward to regaining their upper-hand against their neighbours.

“Every game is important. We don’t want to lose games that’s for sure. We are looking forward to having a good game against Oman tomorrow [Wednesday],” Robin Singh concluded.

All 49 games of the various tri-series that make up League 2, supported by Dream 11, are important for the qualification with top three from the seven teams securing berths in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. After having booked their place in the Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers in Australia, UAE will be eager to make their home games count in 50-over World Cup.