Namibia Crash to 59-Run Defeat

Namibia crashed to a 59-run defeat in their first T20 match against Hong Kong at the Wanderers ground on Monday.

There was not much riding on the outcome, with the match mainly serving as practise for the upcoming World T20 Qualifiers in Scotland and Ireland in July, while Namibian coach Doug Watson also used the occasion to bring in some youngsters.

But for the third match in a row, Namibia’s top order crumbled and although Raymond van Schoor and Sarel Burger led a fine revival, the result was never in doubt as Hong Kong dominated all aspects of the game.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Namibia got off to a great start as Hong Kong lost two wickets in the first two overs.

Namibia however let Hong Kong off the hook as Tanwir Afzal and Babar Hayat shared a 43-run partnership before Afzal was out for 32.

JJ Atkinson joined Irfan Ahmed to put Hong Kong in command with a great century stand, as they put on 124 runs for the fifth wicket off only 12 overs.

Atkinson was especially severe on Namibia’s bowlers, smashing his way to 64 not out off only 37 balls which included four massive sixes and five fours.

He hit successive sixes off JJ Smit, with the first one going over the eastern boundary wall onto the road, while the second went into the car park.

Ahmed was eventually out in the final over for 55 off 39 balls, as Hong Kong reached a formidable total of 188 runs for five wickets off their 20 overs.

Craig Williams was Namibia’s top bowler, taking three wickets for 32 runs, while Sarel Burger took one wicket for 20 runs.

Namibia’s innings once again got off to a poor start as they lost their top four batsmen for only 20 runs.

Gerrie Snyman hit successive fours before he was out caught behind, while Craig Williams was caught off a top edge.

Pikky Ya France was unfortunate to be run out for a duck for the second match in a row, and when Michau du Preez was out for two runs to a great catch by Roy Lamsam, Namibia had slumped to 21 for four wickets.

Hong Kong maintained the pressure to dismiss Zhivago Groenewald for seven runs and with the total at 37 for five wickets after nine overs, Namibia were in deep trouble.

Sarel Burger and Raymond van Schoor started a revival with a 81-run partnership for the seventh wicket but by then, Namibia were way behind the required run rate and they eventually reached 129 runs for seven wickets off their 20 overs.

Sarel Burger top-scored for Namibia with 51 runs off 46 balls, which included two fours and one six, while Van Schoor was out for 46 off 30 balls which included one four and three sixes.

Namibia’s coach Doug Watson said it was not a good performance but there were some positives.

“Regarding the batting, we didn’t have a great start but I firmly back the guys. Cricket goes like that and you can’t always have fantastic starts, but the real positive for me was Raymond van Schoor’s batting in the middle. I thought he played brilliantly and so did Sarel Burger to get us to closer to their total,” he said.

“We were a bit flat in the field and we’ve got to bounce back tomorrow and make sure that we improve our fielding by at least 75 percent, and from a bowling perspective we have to hit our areas. We were very inconsistent today, but in saying that, I think Hong Kong’s captain Jamie Atkinson played brilliantly, he hit the ball really well and put us under a lot of pressure,” he added.

The scorecard:

The final T20 match takes place at the Wanderers ground on Tuesday, starting at 10h00.

Source : The Namibian