UAE beat Namibia with a day to spare
The rise of Afghanistan and Ireland to full membership and the subsequent cancellation of the Test Challenge has left the Intercontinental Cup in a somewhat confusing state with it now not having anything to play for beyond bragging rights. With the two new full members set to safely occupy the top two positions barring anything seriously unexpected, the race is now on for third and the right for the team that finishes there to call themselves the top associate in the longest form.
The latest match in the tournament started on Saturday with the United Arab Emirates visiting Windhoek for the first time since December 2009 to take on Namibia. Before the match both teams were at the foot of the table with 27 points each.
Rohan Mustafa, the UAE captain, won the toss and chose to have his team bat first at the Wanderer's Cricket Club. Mustafa opened the batting with Chirag Suri, who was the first man to go with the score on just 2 in the second over. Mustafa himself scored 26 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Craig Williams.
Razmeez Shahzad chipped in with 40, but the key innings for the visitors was Adnan Mufti's 110. He was the ninth man out, caught behind off the bowling of JJ Smit. Imran Haider then contributed another 14 before number 11 Qadeer Ahmed was also caught behind off JJ Smit for a duck.
JJ Smit was the pick of the Namibian bowlers with 4-37 as the UAE scored 269. There was time for just four overs of the Namibian first innings, Stephan Baard and Lohan Louwrens remaining unbeaten on 8 at the close of play.
The Namibian opening pair took the score to 65 before their partnership was broken when Ahmed Raza had Louwrens trapped lbw for 34. Karl Birkenstock was stumped off Raza for a duck two overs later, whilst Baard went on to score 38 before he too was dismissed by Raza - this time caught behind - for 38.
Baard was the third man out with the score on 92, and the home side soon found themselves well on the back foot on 109-6. It took an unbeaten innings of 78 from Gerhard Erasmus to give their first innings total a degree of respectability.
Raza was eventually reintroduced into the UAE attack and took three of the last four wickets to finish with 6-61 as Namibia were bowled out for 212, giving the visitors a 57 run first innings lead. Looking to set a target, the UAE then lost wickets rapidly, and were 116-6 at the close of the second day, Chirag Suri the main contributor with th the score on 157. Craig Williams took 5-22, his best first-class innings haul, leaving him on 99 career wickets in the longest form.
Chasing a target of 215 runs, Namibia lost opener Lohan Louwrens for a duck early on, with Beard following soon afterwards for just 12. A knock of 48 from Craig Williams was the only significant contribution for the home side. The UAE had Namibia nine down for 134, but ended up being frustrated by a last wicket partnership between Bernard Scholtz and Petrus Burger.
The pair put on 46 before Scholtz was run out, finally ended the Namibian chase on 180, a 34 run win for the UAE. In the last round of matches, Namibia will play the Netherlands, whilst the UAE will take on Afghanistan.