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Today's match at Abu Dhabi Oval 1 was crucial for both Namibia and USA. Namibia is generally ranked in the top rung of associates. But their campaign for a Qualifier spot suffered a series of blows in UAE this past week. After demoralzing but otherwise inconsequential losses to Kenya and Scotland in the warm-up phase, they lost to a stronger Ireland in their official opening match and then struggled to put on a decent total against UAE in their second match. Those performances placed them at the bottom of the heap in Group A along with Canada and Uganda.
For USA, which won against its traditional rival Canada in the opening match but gifted away the second to Italy, today's match against Namibia offered a chance to redeem themselves.
USA made two changes for the match. Barrington Bartley and Imran Awan were given a chance in place of Akeem Dodson who scored 1 and 7 in two earlier forays and Adam Sanford whose bowling proved to be less than sharp in USA's match against Italy.
After winning the toss, USA chose to field. USA bowling lacked bite with the exception of Karan Ganesh, who conceded just 14 runs in his 4 overs taking 2 wickets and Namibian batsmen put on a respectable 163 for 4. Needing 164 to win, USA once again needed a big start. Japen Patel was caught by the Namibian captain off JJ Smit in the second over. Orlando Baker came in following Elmore Hutchinson was bowled by JJ Smit in the fourth over.
Even as Taylor and Baker attempted to build a partnership, the runs dried up as the 9th, 10th and 11th over yielded only 3 runs apiece and only 13 runs came off the 12th, 13th and 14th overs combined. Bernard Sholtz and Sarel Burger (25 dot balls between them) cut off the oxygen supply for the Americans.
As the Namibians gradually turned the pressure dial, a bid to accelerate saw USA lose Taylor in the 11th over and Baker fell at start of 13th. To add to the woes, Karan Ganesh and Timroy Allen were run out and Srini Santhanam followed Allen to the pavilion at the start of the 14th.
USA captain, Neil McGarrell and Barrington Bartley were faced with the monumental task of scoring 68 runs from 30 balls. USA needed a few loose balls but Namibia had one more noose-tightener in its back-pocket. The slow left-arm bowler, Louis Petrus van der Westhuizen, who continued where Sholtz and Burger left off. McGarrell tried hard but in vain as 18 runs came off overs 16 thru 18. With the ask now an unclimbable 50 runs off 12 balls, the writing was on the mountain and USA ended with 128 for 8 suffering a 35 run defeat.
USA face an undefeated Ireland on Wednesday after two days of rest.
Scorecard and ball-by-ball here: http://www.icc-cricket.com/match/worldt20q-2013/33