Netherlands, Namibia seal T20 WC
United Arab Emirates vs Netherlands
A fast bowling barrage from the Netherlands pace attack blew through the UAE top order to set up an easy win in the first cross-over playoff, booking themselves a place in the tournament semi-final and securing qualification for the 2020 T20 WC in Australia. UAE meanwhile will have another chance at qualification when they take on Scotland in the first eliminator play-off.
Making the most of the pace and bounce on offer on a fresh wicket at Dubai International Stadium, Fred Klaassen was the first to strike, Rohan Mustafa skying a top edge on the pull on the fifth ball of the match, and Klaassen waving away his teammates to claim it himself. In the next over Paul van Meekeren made his intentions known with his first ball of the game - quick, short, and crashing into Zawar Farid's helmet. Four balls later and he had his first, Rameez Shahzad edging behind to Scott Edwards, and Mohammad Usman following suit next ball.
Brandon Glover might have had a wicket with his first ball too, Farid driving uppishly wide of Roelof van der Merwe at cover, who spilt a tough chance diving to his left. Glover didn't have to wait long though, Darius D'Silva missing a flick across the line and pinned in front next ball. Van Meekeren might have completed his hattrick in the following over, Farid edging the first ball of the fourth over through vacant second slip. As it was Farid would last another two overs before becoming Glover's second victim, caught midwicket looking to pull.
By the end of the powerplay UAE were five down with just 14 runs on the board, yet come the seventh over the Dutch rather took the boot off the neck, slips coming out, the field spreading and by over eight Pieter Seelaar turned to spin, bringing himself on from the Emirates road end. Waheed Ahmed and Mohammad Boota were allowed to settle, adding 35 for the sixth wicket, albeit at a crawl. If they began to look more composed at the wicket any confidence was misplaced, and when Seelaar reverted to pace for the fourteenth over he was rewarded immediately as Glover had Waheed caught at deep fine leg on the hook firth ball, and did for Boota on the last, edging through to Edwards attempting the same shot on his way to figures of 4-12 in four. Skipper Ahmed Raza and Sultan Ahmed staged a later rally of sorts, each hitting Klaassen for six in the penultimate over, but Timm van der Gugten was clinical in the final over, removing both set batsmen in consecutive deliveries and conceding just one run as UAE staggered to 80-9 at the break.
It was never likely to be enough, though Max O'Dowd may have briefly given them hope when he was bowled through a gaping gate on the first ball of the second over by Rohan Mustafa for five, but Colin Ackermann would join Ben Cooper and the pair would rack up a meticulous fifty-partnership for the second wicket, taking the Dutch to 59-1 inside of ten overs and effectively putting the game to bed. Ackermann would eventually depart looking to force the pace in, well caught just inside the rope by Junaid Siddique off Zahoor Khan, but by then the game was all but gone. Cooper and Ryan ten Doeschate would see the Dutch home with 29 balls to spare, Cooper glancing Farid's first ball of the match down to fine leg for the winning single, finishing unbeaten on 40 from 52 balls.
The Dutch will meet Ireland in the first Qualifier semi-final on Friday, and are assured of their place at the World Cup. The UAE have to return to action tomorrow, with Scotland awaiting them in the eliminator play-offs, with one World Cup berth on offer.
Brief scores: United Arab Emirates 80/9 in 20 overs lost to Netherland 81/2 in 15.1 overs (Ben Cooper 41*) by eight wickets.
Na4mibia v Oman
A spectacular counter-attacking half-century from Namibia's JJ Smit together with a combined spell of eight overs between Gerhard Erasmus and Bernard Scholtz, that saw six Omani wickets fall for just 33 runs, was enough to see Namibia cruise past Oman to book a place in the semi-finals of the T20 WC qualifier in Dubai. With the win, they also secured their qualification for the T20 WC in Australia next year.
Coming in with Namibia under the pump at 69-5, Smit put on a brutal if brief display of hitting, racing to his half-century in just 20 balls on his way to 59 off 25 to see Namibia recover to post 161-7. On the other hand, after Khawar Ali had given Oman a flying start in the powerplay, the Asian nation capitulated ignominiously in the face of Scholtz and Erasmus' left-right orthodox spin combination, as abetted by some baffling shot selection from a woeful Omani middle-order.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Namibia's innings got off to an inauspicious start when Stephen Baard popped Bilal Khan's first ball up into the on side for a simple catch in front of square. Khan would strike again in his next over; JP Kotze playing around a slower cutter that clattered into the top of leg stump. Niko Davin looked unperturbed by events at the other end, keeping the runs flowing with a 13-ball 21, but when he fell victim to a fine diving catch taken at deep third man from Aamir Kaleem off Mohammad Nadeem, the scoring slowed appreciably.
The wicket would do little to help the Oman cause, however, bringing to the crease Smit, who turned the tide of the innings with the most brutal hitting the tournament has yet seen. Smit brought up his half century off just the 20th delivery he faced - smashing Khawar for an absolute monster of a six into the top tier over long off, and then put the replacement ball high over midwicket for six more. The return of Bilal Khan for the penultimate over put an end to the fun; his first four deliveries giving up just three runs and the next two dismissing the set batsmen. Williams slapped a wide full toss to mid off before Smit's innings was ended by a similar delivery next ball.
Khawar had been rather starved of the strike in the meantime, and the frustration told as he charged Scholtz on the second ball of the ninth and was duly stumped for 41 off 25. Scholtz should have had another the next ball as Surag Kumar went hard after his first delivery only to shank a swirling catch up toward long on, where he was reprieved as Smit shelled a sitter. Oman's middle order batsmen tried to gift their wickets away, but Namibia couldn't grab the chances. Frylinck spilled a tougher chance running in off the square boundary in Scholtz' next over to let Kaleem off the hook, but would make not make the same mistake twice. He held on to the next two catches at deep midwicket to dismiss Kumar and Kaleem in consecutive overs before Erasmus held another off his own bowling as he and Scholtz each bowled their four overs on the trot, finishing with figures of 3-19 and 3-14 respectively.
With Groenewald and Ya France on the bench, Erasmus was out of spin options, but the way Oman seemed intent on batting it made little difference. Mohammad Nadeem cut Williams into the hands of Kotze at backward point, and fittingly Smit would take the final two wickets. He pinned Khurram Nawaz in front on the first ball of the 18th and clinched the win with the first ball of the final over, as they sealed their place at the 2020 World Cup. Namibia's only other World Cup appearance came in 2003.
They will take on Papua New Guinea in the second semi-final, whilst Oman have a final chance to qualify when they meet Hong Kong tomorrow in the second elimination play-off.
Brief scores: Namibia 161/7 in 20 overs (JJ Smit 59; Bilal Khan 4-19) beat Oman 107 in 19.1 overs (Bernard Scholtz 3-14) by 54 runs.