UAE held on for a 7-run victory against Namibia despite David Wiese’s rearguard half-century and a 70-run eighth-wicket stand with Ruben Trumpelmann to give Netherlands a pass into the second phase and end Namibia’s run in the preliminaries.
Earlier, Dusan Shanaka’s patched-up Sri Lanka beat Netherlands to secure a spot in the Super 12 stage at the Twenty20 World Cup.
Former champion Sri Lanka’s 16-run victory in its must-win game meant Netherlands needed UAE to produce an unlikely win over Namibia to have any chance of progressing.
Namibia had opened the tournament with a big upset over Sri Lanka, a three-time finalist. UAE had never won a game at the T20 World Cup — until Thursday.
The top two teams in each of the first-round groups will join the top eight teams in the next phase, which starts Saturday with defending champion Australia taking on New Zealand in a rematch of last year’s final.
Muhammad Waseem scored 50 and skipper CP Rizwan posted an unbeaten 43 to lift UAE to 148-3 after winning the toss and electing to bat.
When Namibia slipped to 69-7 in reply after pace bowler Zahoor Khan picked up two wickets in four balls with his yorkers in the 13th over, the Dutch players who stayed to watch in the stands were clapping and cheering.
Things got more tense when Wiese (55) and Trumpelmann (25 not out) went on the attack and cut the equation to 20 runs needed from two overs, and suddenly Namibia appeared more likely to secure a spot in the next stage.
With 10 needed off the last three balls, Wiese tried to hit Waseem over the long-on boundary but didn’t quite middle it and Alishan Sharafu took a catch just inside the rope to end Namibia’s hopes. Namibia finished 141-8.
“It is a great moment. Really grateful,” Rizwan said of the drought-breaking win. “It was just a matter of time. Today, all departments clicked together.
“We want to grow on this. We want to show we’re here not just to compete, but to make an impact.”
That will have to wait until the next tournament.
Sri Lanka and Netherlands finished with two wins apiece, with the Sri Lankans in top spot due to a superior run-rate.
The Sri Lankans posted a competitive 162 for six, including 102 in the last 10 overs, on a two-paced wicket before restricting Netherlands to 146 for nine.
Kusal Mendis equaled his career best T20 international score of 79 and almost carried his bat through. He faced 44 deliveries and hit five fours and five sixes before being dismissed in the last over. By then, he had done the damage.
Netherlands was never really in the run chase, with spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga sharing five wickets between them.
Opener Max O’Dowd batted through the innings but played a mostly lone hand and finished with an unbeaten 71 off 53 deliveries, including six fours and three sixes.
Despite qualifying for the second round, Sri Lanka has major injury concerns with three players already ruled out of the tournament. And opening batter Pathum Nissanka didn’t field against Netherlands as he had been taken for a precautionary scan.
“We had a bad first game. We were not too sure of the conditions but I guess after that we settled down and played really well,” said Mendis, who was voted player of the match. “I just tried to bat the first 10 overs and once I was set, I tried to cash in.”
Places in Group B will conclude in Hobart on Friday with all four teams still in contention with a win and a loss each. Two-time champion West Indies will take on Ireland, and Zimbabwe is against Scotland.
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