The winning UAE squadICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy has labelled the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Windhoek "a great success."

The six-team event featured 18 matches at three venues spread over seven days in Namibia and culminated last Saturday with United Arab Emirates (UAE) beating Oman by 67 runs in the final.

In the 3rd/4th place play-off match, Namibia beat Denmark by four wickets while in the 5th/6th place play-off match, Uganda defeated Argentina by 181 runs.

The two finalists along with Namibia and Denmark qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (formerly ICC Trophy) to be staged in April 2009 in the UAE and are now just one step away from making it to the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Asian subcontinent in 2011.

Reflecting on the Windhoek tournament, Mr Kennedy said: "This was a great success full of keenly contested matches that really illustrates and emphasizes the value of the ICC World Cricket League.

"It gives sides from all over the world the chance to come together, to play in different conditions against different opponents and see how good they really are.

"If they continue to work hard and show the same level of commitment and enthusiasm in the UAE in April 2009, then they can cherish their dreams of playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 against the 10 Full Members.

'Argentina and Uganda though failed to progress further but all is not lost for them. I am sure they will return from Windhoek after gaining a lot of experience and will be better prepared for the ICC WCL Division 3 in January 2009.'

Argentina and Uganda were relegated but will have a second chance to qualify for the UAE event when the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 is staged in January 2009 at a venue yet to be finalized.

Already through to the ICC CWC Qualifier are the top six Associate sides - Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland -- who have earned automatic qualification in the 12-team event by virtue of their top-six finish in the 2005 event that was staged in Ireland.

Mr Kennedy paid tribute to the organisers, the local clubs, the supporters and the teams themselves for combining to create a successful tournament. "On behalf of the ICC I would like to thank the Namibia Cricket Board, and all the clubs that hosted the teams for doing such a terrific job in staging these matches," he said. "It has involved a great deal of work and many sacrifices for all concerned, not least from the players and support staff of all the competing teams.'

Triumph in Windhoek is a perfect icing on the cake for Saqib Ali who took over the reins of UAE team from Arshad Ali only last month. He inspired his team to a memorable come-from-behind victory against Bermuda in the ICC Intercontinental Cup and then marshaled his troops superbly in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2.

Reflecting on his team's success in Windhoek, Saqib said: 'The team deserves full praise and appreciation for the way it played. There was tremendous commitment and zeal to achieve something that could make us proud.

'Limited overs cricket does suit our style of cricket but we had to get our acts together and deliver in every game. Consistency was the secret to success and I am glad that we maintained a high standard throughout the competition.

'Here, I must salute Arshad (Ali) who was at his brilliant best. He was an inspiration, both on and off the field. He is such a great influence on the team and a luxury for any captain to have someone like him in the team,' he said. 'He not only batted magnificently but also carried other batsmen under his wings. And when we needed wickets, he was there to take on the responsibility.'

Ali was in tremendous form in the competition scoring 433 runs in five matches besides taking 15 wickets. Only Namibia's Gerrie Snyman matched Ali's performance by scoring 588 runs, including two centuries, and 10 wickets.

Saqib himself had a decent tournament in which he scored 268 runs while middle-order batsman Amjad Javed contributed 237 runs. Opener Mohammad Iqbal struck form at the right time and finished with 302 runs, including 111 in the final.

Even though Oman lost to the UAE in the final, it can return home with its head high. It was the only Affiliate team in the field and is now only a step away from playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Asian subcontinent in 2011. It can also take some satisfaction from the fact that it beat the UAE in the league match by 25 runs.

Hemin Desai was Oman's star player, stroking 252 runs with the bat and taking eight wickets with the ball.

Namibia may have disappointed the local audience by failing for qualify for the final but Gerrie Snyman earned many plaudits for smashing 34 sixes and 43 fours in his six outings at the crease. The 26-year-old, who also played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 in South Africa, had a strike-rate over 136 in the tournament.

There was some good news for Denmark as well who also earned a place in the ICC CWC Qualifier by finishing fourth in Windhoek. Off-spinner Bobby Chawla was the pick of its bowlers with 10 wickets while captain Frederik Klokker was the third leading run-getter with 316 runs.

Uganda and Argentina may have slipped to Division 3 but can draw a lot of positives out of this tournament.

Uganda's opener Joel Olweny scored 250 and Arthur Kyobe 168 runs while young teenager Frank Nsubuga, who is likely to figure in ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia next year, was the second most successful bowler with 12 wickets.

Gary Savage was an outstanding performer for Argentina. The 29-year-old, with his medium-pace bowling, picked up 11 wickets to finish one behind Nsubuga. Matias Paterlini, the 30-year-old opener, with 211 runs was the 10th most successful batsman of the tournament.