All-round USA on Thursday defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the fourth day of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off in Namibia.
The UAE innings was rattled early after skipper Muhammad Waseem fell to Saurabh Netravalkar in the very first over. Not unlike the Namibian approach yesterday, Vriitya Aravind (57) and Aryan Lakra (26) looked to keep their foot on the pedal. While their strategy worked perfectly on Ali Khan, the more disciplined Netravalkar kept the scoring rate in check from his end.
Through Nisarg Patel, USA bowlers fought back in the middle innings. There includes a stretch of the game during which UAE lost two hitters, including Aravind, in a span of ten balls. The dangerous Asif Khan and former captain Rohan Mustafa afterwards joined forces to make a pivotal stand for the Asian squad.
Asif signalled his intent by taking 19 off the 37th over bowled by Gajanand Singh. The duo looked all set to guide UAE towards a formidable total nearing 300. However, a run out got rid of the set Mustafa and Aayan Khan’s dismissal for a duck against Ali left UAE at 207/6 by the 40th over.
Asif, who had previously lit up Kirtipur with a record-breaking 41-ball century a few weeks prior, blasted an 81-ball century to help UAE to a respectable 279/9.
USA didn’t throw their bats around from ball one and looked to preserve wickets. At the same time, their strategy was to steadily progress towards the target. Hence, even with the losses of Shayan Jahangir (22) and Sushant Modani (39) in the ninth and 19th over respectively, the American side reached 127/2 at the halfway stage.
They had eight wickets in their hands and required just over six runs per over to win the match. On the other side, the UAE were in dire need of innovations. Yet when captain Monank Patel also increased his scoring pace to keep up with Saiteja Mukkamalla’s aggression, their problems only became worse. Between overs 26 and 35, the USA increased by roughly six even though UAE missed a few opportunities.
Mukkamalla completed his ton in the 45th over with Gajanand Singh offering solid support from the other end. The late wicket of Singh in the penultimate over raised UAE’s hopes, but Jessy Singh hit a four off the final ball of the 49th over to spark celebrations in the USA camp.
USA have now won two matches to move up to third in the points table with a net run rate of +0.404. (ANI)