UAE team
UAE players celebrate a wicket during the Qualifier Playoff against Namibia. Image Credit: ECB Twitter

Dubai: The UAE take on Jersey in a crucial ICC 50-over Cricket World Cup Qualifier Playoff in Windhoek in Namibia on Wednesday.

United States have secured a place in the final qualifying for the India showpiece, while the hosts Namibia, who are currently in second spot after a 111-run win over Canada on Tuesday, UAE and Canada vie for the other spot for the 10-team final qualifier to be held in Zimbabwe from June 18 to July 9.

The 28-run win over hosts Namibia in their previous encounter has helped UAE strengthen their position, however, they will have to stave off the Jersey challenge on Wednesday. Jersey ran the US close in a tense 25-run finish on Tuesday and will be pumped up by their impressive performance against the table-toppers.

UAE will need to win two points in their last encounter to ensure they don’t have to depend on other results. The top-order batting, led by skipper Muhammad Waseem, has been firing on all cylinders and young stars Aryan Lakra and Vriitya Aravind, who missed a century by seven runs against Canada, have been among the runs, which should give the team enough confidence.

Striking prowess

However, the key to UAE’s fortunes in recent times is the stunning form of Asif Khan, whose striking prowess is getting better after notching up his first century against Nepal last month. Buoyed by that knock, where he became the fourth fastest centurion in One Day Internationals, has ran up scores of 103 and 96 in the next four matches.

Veterans Rohan Mustafa and Zahoor Khan will be leading the bowling charge along with talented young bowlers like Aayan Khan, Karthik Meiyappan, who got a hat-trick against Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, and Sanchit Sharma, who made his debut against Papua New Guinea late last month.

UAE team
Veteran Rohan Mustafa, Aryan Lakra and skipper Muhammad Waseem celebrated a dismissal during the playoffs. Image Credit: ECB Twitter

The Americans, who have never qualified for the main tournament, wrapped up a top-two finish in the Qualifier Play-off event in Namibia with their fourth win from five matches.

The USA have only previously qualified for a global ICC event once — the 2004 Champions Trophy where they went out in the first round.

But they will qualify automatically for next year’s T20 World Cup as co-hosts with the West Indies.

Magnificent spell

On Tuesday, they knew a victory would secure a spot in the next stage with a day to spare.

American opener Steven Taylor made 79 in a total of 231 after Jersey won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Seamer Ali Khan put the US on track for a comfortable win with a magnificent opening spell, which left Jersey reeling at 17-5.

Crucial wickets

But Asa Tribe (75) and Benjamin Ward (46) made it a nervy finale with a 97-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Khan returned to take two crucial late wickets, though, finishing with 7-32 as Jersey came up short and were knocked out of top-two contention as a result.

The Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will all be competing for the two last World Cup places up for grabs, along with Scotland, Oman and Nepal. This year’s World Cup is being staged in India in October and November.

— Inputs from AFP