Wins for UAE and Namibia
Namibia opened its World Cup Qualifier campaign in style with a 91-run victory over Netherlands in a Group B clash at Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
An all-round team performance saw the side post 253 for six from its 50 overs after being sent in to bat, with Gerrie Snyman striking 74 runs at a run a ball. The 32-year-old found the boundary nine times, and put on a 58-run fifth-wicket stand with Nicolaas Scholtz (27) before being run out in the penultimate over. Christi Viljoen (46 not out) and Craig Williams (36) also added quick runs to bring the Namibia total to 253.
Netherlands' Mudassar Bukhari led with the ball, claiming three wickets for 40 runs, while Michael Swart took two for 44. The Namibia bowling attack tied up the Netherlands run chase, with fast-medium bowler Christi Viljoen claiming a four-wicket haul.
The Netherlands lost its openers cheaply in the first five overs, before captain Peter Borren (29) steadied the innings. The skipper faced only 17 balls and struck five boundaries before falling to Nicolaas Scholtz in the tenth over.
Borren's departure sparked a mini batting collapse, before youngster Michael Rippon (44 not out) came to the crease and played a patient knock . The 22-year-old was the last man standing when Netherlands finished its innings, all out for 162 in 36.5 overs.
Viljoen finished with four wickets for 33, while Bernard Scholtz and Louis Klazinga claimed two wickets apiece.
Man of the match Snyman said the victory was the result of a team effort, with good partnerships through the innings. "Our batsmen were backed up really well by the bowlers. They worked out the wicket well."
"Momentum is the biggest thing in a tournament like this, and a win first up is just what we wanted."
Netherlands captain Borren was disappointed with the result after a strong opening performance against Uganda. "We obviously didn't play to our usual standard. The team's batting performance was simply not good enough and we'll have to improve pretty quickly."
However, he was confident the Netherlands can bounce back from the loss. "It's very frustrating that we can be so inconsistent, but we do have the team that can progress in this tournament."
In the only Group A clash of the day, a 130-run partnership for the second wicket saw the United Arab Emirates (UAE) defeat Canada by 80 runs at Rangiora Oval, Christchurch.
The top ranked side in the tournament did not regret electing to bat, with Amjad Ali (91) and skipper Khurram Khan (88) setting the basis for a formidable total. Ali's innings included nine boundaries and a six, while the skipper found the boundary six times.
Canada's Khurram Chohan, one of only two players remaining in the Canada side from the 2009 edition, made the much-needed breakthrough in the 38th over to dismiss Ali and break the partnership. Swapnil Patil (36) continued from where he left off in the first match against Nepal as the UAE reached 286 for six from its 50 overs.
In response, Canada was left reeling after losing three wickets for nine runs within the first five overs, before skipper Jimmy Hansra led the fight back in his first match of the tournament as Canada captain, with an unbeaten century (100 not out).
The middle and lower-order ably assisted, with Raza-ur-Rehman chipping in with a patient knock of 43, but it was not enough to chase down the total and Canada finished on 206 for six from its allotted overs.
UAE captain Khurram Khan said that his side had executed its plans well to seal the victory. "We're doing wonderfully well. It's not just one batsman that is scoring – the whole top order is firing well.
"And once you have a good total on the board, that gives the bowlers confidence and our fast bowlers are performing superbly," he commented.
Looking ahead to the side's remaining three matches of the group stage, the skipper said: "After two wins the team's confidence is high, but we are just taking it one match at a time."
Though pleased with his performance with the bat, Canada skipper Hansra admitted that the loss was not an ideal start for Canada in the tournament.
"We gave away about 30 runs in the field today. Our bowlers did not hit the right areas, and we need more of our batsmen to stand up and score runs."
"Tomorrow we need to get our heads right and come back with a good game plan against Hong Kong on Friday."