The United Arab Emirates edged back into the middle table in the Cricket World Cup League 2, recording wins over Namibia and hosts Oman at the ODI trilateral series at Muscat this week. The round though was cut short owing to the death of the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Qaboos bin Said al Said. Oman and Namibia each recorded a win and a loss before three days of national mourning was declared following the death of the Sultan, which meant Oman’s final two matches against the Emirates and Namibia were abandoned.
It is not yet clear whether the latter two fixtures will be rescheduled to a later date or whether points will be shared, as the three boards are currently in consultation with the ICC to see whether space can be found to replay the games later in the cycle.
As it stands, no points have been awarded for the final two matches, meaning that Oman provisionally retain two games in hand, while the UAE and Namibia retain one match apiece. The hosts opening win over the Emirates saw them climb to fourth in the table on four wins from six matches, though they could yet draw level with leaders USA, should the two remaining matches be played and they post another two wins. The UAE bounced back from that loss to win both of their fixtures against Namibia and close the gap in the mid table to a single point. Namibia, meanwhile, picked up a victory over Oman in their second game; Williams’ unbeaten 129 powering them to their highest ever ODI total of 324-7 to set up a 54-run win. The win moved them to third on the table, ahead of Oman on net run rate albeit with one fewer game to play.
Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood led from the front in their series opener against the neighbouring UAE; the left-arm spinner recording personal best figures of 4-15 to keep the UAE in check after southpaw seamer Bilal Khan had taken three wickets at the top to make a mess of the top order. The in-form Mohammad Usman provided some resistance in the middle order with a 95-ball 68 before he became Maqsood’s first victim, but the Oman skipper would wrap up the tail in quick time to roll the visitors for 170. Junaid Siddique would bag two wickets with the new ball to give the UAE hope. However, a century partnership between opener Jatinder Singh and number four Aqib Ilyas put the game to bed; Ilyas remaining not-out on 80 as he saw the “Red Brigade” to a five-wicket victory with more than 12 overs to spare.
The Emirates, though, would recover to win their next match against Namibia. The 19 year-old legspinner Palaniapan Meiyappan starring with figures of 4-37 as the UAE held on to defend a sub-par 222 by just 8 runs. Meiyappan is one of several young players called up to the squad from the under-19s program after the UAE senior team lost a handful of player to suspension following the match-fixing allegations that surfaced ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier in October last year.