x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE on verge of qualifying for 2015 Cricket World Cup after Kenya win

UAE's win over Kenya on Tuesday means they are virtually guaranteed of finishing top-2 and earning a place in the 2015 World Cup. As it stands, their definite top-4 finish means they will be granted full ODI status.

Khurram Khan, left, provided 85 runs for UAE on Tuesday, with Mohammad Naveed, right, taking three wickets. Chris Young / The National
Khurram Khan, left, provided 85 runs for UAE on Tuesday, with Mohammad Naveed, right, taking three wickets. Chris Young / The National

Two employees of Emirates airline combined to all but book the UAE’s flights to next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, after the national team beat Kenya.

The 13-run victory means they are checked in, as they sit on top of the Super Six table with one match to play.

They will advance to the departure gate if they beat Namibia on Thursday, which would secure World Cup qualification for the first time since 1996.

The fact the indomitable Khurram Khan, who has long been one of the finest players in the world beyond the Test elite, played a key role in the success was of little surprise.

The flight purser made his fifth score in excess of 50 in the tournament so far, and is the competition’s leading run scorer by well over 100.

Yet it was the cameo played by Amjad Javed, his Emirates airline colleague, which swung the game in the UAE’s favour.

The big-hitting all-rounder hit 63 in just 33 balls in the late overs to hoist the UAE to 246 for eight from their 50 overs.

He then picked up two cheap wickets as the UAE’s thriving pace attack kept the Kenyans to 233 all out in reply.

“When I went in I was able just to play my natural game,” Amjad said.

“Until then we had only scored 20 or 30 runs in the last seven overs. At that point I told Vikranth [Shetty, his batting partner] you play your natural game and I’ll play mine.

“If I clicked we could score 60 or 70 runs in the last seven overs. And I clicked.”

The UAE have also clinched at least a top-4 place in the Super Six round, which means they will be granted full ODI status.

pradley@thenational.ae