The UAE had held its nerve to record a last-ball six-wicket win over Namibia in the latest matches in the Desert T20 competition in Abu Dhabi.
In a match that both sides will admit was sloppy, the UAE won by virtue of making less mistakes in the field. Namibia was incredibly wasteful dropping three catches and making a plethora of misfields that assisted the UAE run chase.
Namibia batted first and posted a respectable 7-152 from its 20 overs. However, it should have scored a lot more after losing three wickets in the space of seven balls from the 18th to the 19th over.
JP Kotze led the way for the African nation by scoring 50 off 42 balls with included three fours and two sixes (one of those sixes was a sublime reverse-slog sweep). However he departed when Namibia needed him most and was the catalyst for its mini collapse.
In reply, UAE never really looked under threat despite the match going to the final ball.
Smart and calculated batting by Rohan Mustufa (56 from 34 balls) laid the platform for the run chase and he was ably supported by Shaiman Anwar who made a run-a-ball 53 before departing in the 2nd last ball of the innings run out.
Muhummad Usman then skipped down the track on the final ball of the innings to hit Jan Frylinck over the crowded infield to ensure victory for the hosts.
Namibia will need to work a lot harder on taking its chances in the field if it wants to taste success in the Desert T20 Cup after a horrendous showing in the field.
Captain Sarel Burger attributed the lapses in the field to the dew in the outfield. This will no doubt be a common occurrence in night matches played in Abu Dhabi so the African nation best get used to gripping the slippery ball or risk hurting itself like it did against the UAE.
UAE coach Owais Shah was full of praise to his batsmen and happy with the win “They kept their nerve to get us home. When you look in the book at the end of the day we have got the win and in these kind of tournaments once you get a victory you get the momentum and can build from there”. Shah also spoke of the need to be more clinical, something that his side is capable of “I think we can be a bit more clinical, especially with the bat. Not take the game right to the last ball like we did today. I would have loved to finish that game in the 18th, perhaps the 19th over. generally I think we can just improve.
In the other Desert T20 match of the day, Netherlands won a tense affair against Oman by five-wickets.