'The UAE cashed in on a sub-par performance from Canada to win by 5 wickets with almost 19 overs to spare at Krugersdorp on Wednesday (April 15). Ireland remain top of the Super 8 league table with 5 wins and 1 loss after a six wicket win against the Netherlands. Canada (4/2) is still second, despite the loss to the UAE, and closes this phase of the ICC World Cup Qualifier against the Dutch on Friday. The top two teams meet in Sunday's Final at Centurion.
Namibia blitzed to a 201 run win over Kenya. Jan-Berry Berger (125 runs) and Raymond van Schoor opened the Namibian innings with a stand of 191. Namibia reached 305, then bowled out Kenya for just 104. Karim Sadiq (92 runs) lead Afghanistan to a total of 279 against Scotland, who replied with 227 all out. These results leave the battle for the four World Cup 2011 places dependent on Friday's final round of Super 8 action.
Canada began with some solid shots from Rizwan Cheema, who struck a breezy 20 runs from 17 balls before being caught at deep square leg in the fourth over, and seemed on course for a good score with Geoff Barnett and Sandeep Jyoti batting well.
But a call for a quick single in the 20th over saw Barnett run out, and proved the turning point of the innings. Incoming batsmen then struggled against the UAE spin bowlers. The run rate subsided with just 25 runs scored and 5 wickets falling in the next 13.3 overs. A last wicket stand of 43 runs in 6.2 overs between Balaji Rao Dorkanti and Khurram Chohan averted a complete subsidence of the Canadian innings. It was also thought to be a score that could be defended on a slower wicket than others in this tournament.
Balaji Rao struck 4 fours and drove two sixes over the fielder at long-off in a plucky 39 runs from 34 balls. Opener Barnett also made 39 runs, mixing singles with some good boundary strokes. He and Jyoti had added 73 for the second wicket when Barnett was run out attempting what now seems a fateful quick single. Jyoti top-scored with 43 runs, striking 5 fours and a six in a stay of 96 balls. UAE spinner Saqib Ali had the impressive figures of 3 wickets for 20 runs from 10 overs. Khurran Khan chipped in with 2 wickets for 23 runs from 9 overs.
UAE responded with some fireworks as Amjab Javed struck the opening ball of the innings to the cover boundary for four and blasted the first ball of the second over for six over deep mid wicket. Ironically Javed fell to a catch of the bowling of Cheema, Canada's blitzkrieg opening batsman Cheema. Javed made 40 runs off 23 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes The UAE had reached 70 for the loss of 2 wickets from just 8.5 overs.
Canada was without Henry Osinde in this match. Khurram Chohan came in for some tough punishment as the UAE powered along, aided by some missed chances, fielding errors that cost more runs and the game became a real struggle as confidence disappeared. On a good day, some of the balls struck in the air would have been caught.
On Wednesday, with a couple of artificial hills created from gold mining in the background, any gold belonged to the UAE batsmen. Khurram Khan was named Man-of-the-Match for his 53 not out (seven boundaries) as well as two wickets. Nithin Gopal and Saqib Ali each scored 37 runs. Saqib Ali was in contention for the Man-of-the-Match award due to his fine spell of bowling.
Sameer Nayak sealed victory for the UAE with a six. The UAE camp was ecstatic. The Canadian camp was left really disappointed.
'We were pretty weak in the field and bowling. We had an overall bad day in all three departments; even in batting,' commented coach Pubudu Dassanayake. 'In the first 10 to 15 overs we came up really well in batting, but then we played some poor strokes. It was a hard wicket but nobody really applied themselves. It was like a track on the sub-continent, a different type to the faster tracks at other grounds in this tournament.'
Dassanayake concluded 'We need to really come back hard against the Netherlands on Friday.'