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Williams leads Namibia to title

Namibia captain Craig Williams made his second hundred with 113 off 95 balls

Williams leads Namibia to title - Cricket News

Namibia cricket captain Craig Williams collects the ICC Intercontinental
Shield from ICC Director and Cricket Scotland Chairman Keith Oliver
Namibia captain Craig Williams slammed his second hundred, making 113 off 95 balls, in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Shield to lead his team to a six-wicket win over United Arab Emirates on the fourth and final day at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Oval.

Williams led from the front as Namibia made light work of UAE's target of 187 and achieved victory in 39.4 overs on Sunday.

Earlier UAE resuming at its overnight 403 for eight, was bowled out for 427 with overnight batsman Saqib Ali remaining unbeaten on 160. UAE logged an overall lead of 186.

Namibia began shakily in its chase for 187. The visitors slipped to 27 for two, losing Raymond van Schoor and Sarel Burger to Amjad Javed. But skipper Williams teamed up well with Ewald Steenkamp to steer Namibia out of trouble. The duo put on 57 for the third wicket before Steenkamp became Javed's third victim.

Thereafter Williams was joined by Louis Burger. Together this fourth wicket stand yielded 77 runs. Louis Burger struck a six and three boundaries in his 47-ball 20 which gave Namibia's innings some momentum. UAE skipper Khurram Khan bowled himself and claimed Louis Burger's wicket.

But by then the match had slipped out of UAE's grasp as Williams led from the front in style to help his side pocket the ICC Intercontinental Shield. Williams scored his eighth first-class hundred off 89 balls, a shade slower than the first innings when he achieved the feat off 85 balls. Williams hit 15 boundaries and two sixes in his knock.

UAE captain Khan was disappointed with the result but proud of his team.

"It has a lot to do with the first hour of the first innings on the first day. It seamed a lot with the new ball, as you saw on the second day as well. That put us on the backfoot. But credit to our guys who did wonderfully well to bring us back into the contest. Saqib Ali, Swapnil Patil, Naeemuddin, Arshad Ali batted well to bring us back into the game. I think we fell short by 40-45 runs otherwise it would have been a good game," summed up Khan.

The UAE skipper also paid tribute to his team's fighting qualities. "We have played four day cricket for quite long. The key is you can't just give up. The bowlers too bowled their hearts out today even though there was nothing in the wicket. Especially, Amjad Javed got three wickets out of a very batting friendly track," said Khan.

Man of the Match and Namibia skipper Williams was an emotional man as he reflected on the triumph.

"It has gone off really well. I am a bit emotional. I don't know what to say really. I am just happy for the team. We have worked really hard. It's just a bonus that I happen to come off in this game. It feels nice to score for a team like this," said Williams

An all-rounder, Williams, said his team was not worried about UAE's fightback on the third day of the final.

"I don't think we were worried because we had a gameplan. I thought they needed to get a lot more runs to get ahead of us. The pitch was playing really well. If we had to chase 300-350 then it would have been very difficult with their spin attack. But we just backed our gameplan. You saw this morning we had ten guys on the boundary because we knew the game was in our hands. They had to come out and score runs. It's nice that it all went our way," concluded Williams.

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