UAE’s cricketers regained top spot in World Cricket League Division 2 four years after first winning it, by beating Namibia in the tournament final. They won by five wickets after bowling out their opponents for 200 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

”To be among the top teams after the ten Test-playing nations is encouraging,” says Emirates Cricket Board Administrator Mazhar Khan, “It's a great moment for UAE cricket. We need to look ahead for more such victories and all the new players in the team have contributed brilliantly to the team's success."

UAE were unbeaten in their six matches in the event and with Hong Kong who finished fourth, will receive close to a US$1 million in ICC High Performance funding over the next three years to further develop their cricket. An ICC Intercontinental Cup place beckons too, where they will take on Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands and Scotland and one other team from this Division 2, to be chosen by the ICC Development Committee at their May 7 meeting.

With this ICC tournament victory UAE are currently 17th in the world-rankings and their next target is a top three finish in the ACC Twenty20 Cup in December, which will get them into the 16-nation ICC WorldTwenty20 Qualifier to be played in Dubai in February 2012.

Saqib Ali on his way to 3-13 in the Final v Namibia

“What pleased me most is that we came through some pressure situations well and played some disciplined cricket. We prepared well, knew our strengths and had time to rehearse game scenarios thanks to the Board who allowed us a two-month camp. Every one contributed to our victories and all the team took individual responsibility for victory. The new players added a lot and the seniors did all that was required of them,” says UAE coach Kabir Khan. “The teams in Division 2 were tough and Hong Kong, I’m surprised they didn’t do better, but they are the team of the future, with some excellent young cricketers.”

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat with UAE captain Khurram Khan

Captain Khurram Khan who steered UAE home in the Final with an unbeaten 60, said "We still need to improve. We'll be working very hard over the next few months." ICC Intercontinental Cup fixtures are likely in June and July and “preparation for the ACC T20 will start soon, its going to call for players who are best suited for that format,” says Kabir.

Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2, Final: UAE v Namibia
Namibia won the toss and chose to bat
Namibia: 200 all out off 49.3 overs (S.Burger 42, C.Williams 58, R.van Schoor 39; N.Aziz 3-33, S.Ali 3-13)
UAE: 201 for 5 off 45.3 overs (Arshad A. 30, S.Ali 73, K.Khan 60*)
Man of the Match: Saqib Ali (UAE)

Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2

Pictures courtesy of the ICC

Filed April 18th, 2011