The United Arab Emirates defeated Namibia by seven runs in their first Twenty20 World Cup game on Thursday, sending the Netherlands into the tournament’s Super 12.
If the Africans had won, they would have joined Sri Lanka in the next round instead of the Dutch, but the UAE held them to 141-8 as they chased 149 for victory.
The UAE reduced Namibia to 69-7 in the 13th over, thanks to two wickets each from Zahoor Khan and Basil Hameed, before late fireworks from David Weise (55 off 36 balls) set up a tense last-over finish.
UAE captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan won the toss and chose to bat, but it was difficult going against a Namibian attack led by paceman Ruben Trumpelmann, who was instrumental in Namibia’s run to the second round a year ago.
They restricted UAE openers Muhammad Waseem and Vriitya Aravind to 39 off the first eight overs, helped by veteran Wiese, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, and Jan Frylinck.
Aravind (21) found an edge off Scholtz as the pressure mounted, and the first wicket fell.
Waseem started opening the bat to get the scoreboard moving, and with Rizwan by his side, he scored his fifth T20 half-century off 40 balls.
But he was gone two balls later, leaving a Ben Shikongo delivery to third man in Trumpelmann’s capable hands.
They reached three figures in the 15th over before Alishan Sharafu (4) was out, with Rizwan (43 not out) and Basil Hameed (25 not out) pushing them to a respectable total with 33 runs in the final two overs.
Namibia’s openers were lost early, with Stephan Baard getting a thick edge off Junaid Siddique and Ahmed Raza collecting the catch, followed by Michael van Lingen being caught on the ropes.
They were 16-2 after three overs and had their work cut out for them when Jan Nicol Lofti-Eaton was out lbw on review two overs later, handing India-born Hameed a second wicket.
Namibia were 46-5 when skipper Gerhard Erasmus was bowled by Karthik Meiyappan, who had a hat-trick against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, and JJ Smit was run out.
In the 13th over, Zahoor Khan removed the dangerous Jan Frylinck with a yorker and Zaner Green three balls later, leaving Namibia staring into the abyss.
But Weise never gave up and, with the help of Trumpelmann (not out 25), set about rescuing his country with some power hitting, reducing the target to 20 off the final two overs only to fall short.