Dubai, Sep 30: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded back-to-back victories against Namibia in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship to keep their hopes of direct qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 alive.
The hosts defeated Namibia by 135 runs in the second 50-over match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday (September 29) to tighten their grip on second place, bolstering their chances of qualifying alongside Ireland to the ICC's flagship 50-over event.
Coming into its final match of the Championship, third-placed UAE was one of three teams still in contention for the crucial second spot, and the side needed victory in the second do-or-die match against Namibia to remain in the race, while also eliminating the Netherlands.
The UAE's Shaiman Anwar again led with the bat, with a knock of 57 making him the highest run-getter of the tournament (625 runs from 14 innings) and helping his side to a total of 215 all out.
Twenty-four year old Rohan Mustafa contributed with 39, while Namibia's Christoffel Viljoen claimed four wickets to become the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, with 23 victims from 14 innings.
In response, Namibia lost some early wickets and never recovered, with Mustafa following up his performance with the bat to claim three wickets for eight runs to help dismiss Namibia for 80 runs in 32 overs.
The win sees the UAE leapfrog Netherlands into second position, with the same number of points (18) but ahead on the number of matches won (nine), thereby knocking the Netherlands out of contention for the second and final automatic qualification spot.
Afghanistan, currently ranked fourth, are the only team that can now overtake the UAE when they face Kenya in the final matches of the WCL Championship on 2 and 4 October at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Afghanistan are three points behind both the UAE and the Netherlands (15 points), and must win both ODIs to pick up maximum points and seize second spot from the UAE.
Scores in brief
UAE 215 all out in 50 overs (Shaiman Awar 57, Rohan Mustafa 39, Saqib Ali 29; Christoffel Viljoen 4/40) beat Namibia 80 all out in 31.3 overs (Xander Pitchers 29, Jean Pierre Kotze 12; Rohan Mustafa 3/8, Khurram Khan 2/6, Nasir Aziz 2/9, Shadeep Silva 2/19)