A wicket away from completing the lowest total defence in men’s ODI history, Namibia have dropped crucial points to a victorious UAE in the race for an automatic Cricket World Cup Qualifier spot.
After bundling their opponents out for just 91 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday, UAE limped to the target, saved by 22-year-old Aayan Khan, whose 35* in the dying embers saved the hosts.
The result tightens the race for a spot in the top three, with UAE (29 points in 27 matches), closing in on Gerhard Erasmus’ men, and causing a seismic shift in the probabilities of a top-three finish for both sides.
From having a likelihood of over 50% before the match, Namibia’s chances now stand at 37.4%, with UAE now the favourites at 47.4%. Nepal, who wait in the wings before their final eight matches, sit at 15.2%
With just one match to go in their cycle, Namibia’s best possible tally is now 39 points, a total that can be eclipsed should UAE win six of their last nine games, or if Nepal win seven of their last eight. As per the tournament’s conditions, should teams be level on points, the team with most total wins will be placed ahead. Should that number be the same, the team with the better head-to-head record goes above. With the win, UAE now have a 5-0 record against the Eagles.
Compounded by injuries to JJ Smit and Jan Frylinck, Namibia find themselves in an uncharacteristic form dip, particularly with the bat, losing their last five matches in the competition. They had a chance to claim one of the two points on offer in the nailbiter, though dropped a catch from Aayan as scores were level. The youngster miscued a shot into the leg-side off the bowling of Ben Shikongo, though Michael van Lingen, striding in a short mid-wicket, could not hold on to the low chance.
After the life, Aayan lifted Shikongo over the mid-off fielder on the edge of the circle to sneak home.
The extra factor in the League 2 race is the presence of Papua New Guinea in the final two tri-series, who despite a torrid run in the competition, have the individual talent to upset the apple cart.
The Barramundis may not be in the race for the top three, though finding a winning balance will be crucial in their next eight games with the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off in Namibia looming.
Assad Vala’s side are in danger of losing ODI status with a bottom-two finish in the playoff, also falling out of the League 2 structure and into the Challenge League, effectively the third tier of 50-over cricket.
Remaining League 2 fixtures
- UAE v Namibia: 25 February
- Papua New Guinea v Nepal: 27 February
- UAE v Papua New Guinea: 28 February
- UAE v Nepal: 2 March
- Nepal v Papua New Guinea: 3 March
- UAE v Papua New Guinea: 5 March
- UAE v Nepal: 6 March
- Nepal v Papua New Guinea: 9 March
- UAE v Papua New Guinea: 10 March
- Nepal v UAE: 12 March
- Nepal v Papua New Guinea: 13 March
- Papua New Guinea v UAE: 15 March
- Nepal v UAE: 16 March
How to watch on ICC.tv
Every ball of the Cricket World Cup League 2 ODIs will be live and FREE on ICC.tv.
Fans in the ALL regions (other than Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan) can watch League 2 matches LIVE on ICC.tv on:
* ICC.tv website
* ICC.tv mobile apps (available in the App Store and Google Play)
* Samsung TV and LG TV apps
Highlights of League 2 ODIs are also available on-demand for FREE on ICC.tv.