The rest day on Monday seems to have done several of the players in Division Two of the World Cricket League some good, as the third round of matches produced some of the best cricket in the tournament so far.
The most crushing performance of the day came from the UAE in their match against Argentina. The two previous meetings between these two have seen the UAE win by 8 wickets after bowling Argentina out for low scores, but today saw the UAE get a chance to bat first, and they showed what they are capable of in fine style.
The first wicket didn't fall until the 24th over when Mohammed Iqbal fell for 78, putting on 141 with Arshad Ali, who had scored 139 when he was out in the 49th over. Whilst that was the top score of the innings, it wasn't the most remarkable batting performance. Amjad Javed scored 109 from 63 balls, joining in a 172 run partnership for the second wicket with Arshad Ali. But even that was out-shined by UAE skipper Saqib Ali who in his nine balls at the crease scored four fours, four sixes and a single for an ultra-fast 41. His strike-rate for the innings was 455.56 as the UAE totalled 412 for 4.
In reply, Argentina didn't even try and chase down the formidable target, and were bowled out for 108 in the 44th over, Arshad Ali showing his all-round abilities with 3 for 8 from his seven overs as the UAE won by 304 runs. The UAE's total is the 19th total over 400 in List A cricket, and their 304 run win is only the fourth win by over 300 runs in List A cricket history.
With Namibia having comprehensively beaten Denmark and Argentina in the first two days of the tournament, they would have been expecting a similarly easy ride against pre-tournament outsiders Oman, and looked set for another win when they scored 271 for 6 from their 50 overs, Gerrie Snyman scoring an unbeaten 158, taking his average for the tournament to 316.
But Oman had other ideas, especially Hemin Desai, who clubbed 82 from 35 balls opening the batting, before he was out with the team score on 84. His opening partner Zeeshan Siddiqui was dismissed for 1 without adding any more to the score. Vaibhav Wategoankar then anchored the rest of the innings, scoring an unbeaten 114 as Oman reached their target in the 47th over to win by 2 wickets.
Meanwhile, at the United Ground, Denmark got their tournament hopes back on track by beating Uganda by 21 runs. Frederik Klokker (65) and Carsten Pedersen (63) top-scored in Denmark's innings of 234 for 5, Lars Andersen contributing 46 from 19 balls towards the end of the 50 overs.
The first dismissal in Uganda's innings came with the total on 20 when Arthur Kyobe became only the eightth batsman to be given out obstructing the field in the history of List A cricket. Bobby Chawla removed the middle order with 4 for38 from his leg spin, and 43 down the order from Frank Nsubuga was not enough to secure a win.
Winning today has meant that the UAE and Oman have secured their spots in the World Cup qualifier in 2009, meaning that they can relax a little for tomorrows games against Namibia and Denmark. The two teams without a win, Argentina and Uganda, also face off tomorrow, and the losers will be sure of relegation to Division Three.