Namibia Win Thriller to Tie T20 Series

Namibia beat Hong Kong by two runs in a thrilling T20 match on Tuesday to tie their T20 series at one-all.

It was the final match of Hong Kong’s tour to Namibia and the result saw the two sides share the T20 as well as 50-over match series at one-all, while Namibia won the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup encounter.

Namibia scored 144 for five wickets off their 20 overs and then restricted Hong Kong to 142 for seven in a tight finish.

Sent in to bat, Namibia’s top order once again failed as their first three batsmen were out with only 11 runs on the board.

Stephan Baard was caught behind for 4, Craig Williams played on for 5 and Pikky Ya France was caught in the covers for 1.

Michau du Preez and Sarel Burger started Namibia’s revival by putting on 52 runs for the fourth wicket before Du Preez was bowled for 27 off 22 balls which included three fours and one six.

Zhivago Groenewald joined Burger and continued Namibia’s recovery with a fine partnership of 66 runs for the fifth wicket.

The young Groenewald showed great maturity to withstand Hong Kong’s bowling onslaught, hitting some fine boundaries in the process before he was out for 34 off only 19 balls, which included two sixes and three fours.

Burger was once again the mainstay of the Namibian innings, reaching his second successive 50 and was eventually not out on 59 off 48 balls which included one six and six fours.

Pace bowler Haseeb Amjad was Hong Kong’s best bowler, taking four wickets for 15 runs off four overs.

With a winning target of just over seven runs an over, Hong Kong got off to a good start as they reached 57 for one wicket at the halfway stage.

Namibia however kept up the pressure with some fine bowling and fielding, and four wickets within 12 balls put them in the ascendancy.

Christopher Coombe clean bowled Nizakat Khan for 30, JJ Smit dismissed Waqas Barkat (11) and Babar Hayat (1), while Craig Williams bowled danger-man Jamie Atkinson for one run to leave Hong Kong reeling at 63 for five wickets.

Skhawat Ali and Tanwir Afzal rebuilt Hong Kong’s innings with a 44-run partnership off only four overs and when Ali was out for 17, they needed 38 runs off 24 balls to win the match.

Namibia’s bowlers however kept a fine line and length and with one over remaining Hong Kong needed 12 runs for victory.

Afzal kept them in the hunt, reaching his 50 with a big six off JJ Smit, but it was not enough as they eventually fell two runs short of the target with Afzal top-scoring with 55 not out which came off 27 balls and included three sixes and five fours.

Craig Williams, who took three wickets for 31 runs and JJ Smit (236) were Namibia’s top bowlers.

Namibian coach Doug Watson said his team performed much better than on Monday when Hong Kong won the first T20 match by 59 runs.

“It has been a really good exercise and to bounce back from yesterday was brilliant. Yesterday we were outplayed in all three departments but today was fantastic. We had another tough start to the innings, but Sarel Burger, Michau du Preez and Zhivago Groenewald played brilliantly – they batted really well and Sarel carried on his good form to put up a defendable total.

“Yesterday we didn’t bowl well, we didn’t hit our areas, and we didn’t field as well as we know we can and we pride ourselves in our fielding, but today we did,” he said.

“We are still dropping one or two catches which is an area we will focus on, but from a bowling perspective we were outstanding to defend 140 runs. That last over was a bit nervy but the boys came though and it was a good way to finish the tour,” he added.

Source : The Namibian