Canada 197/6 (Khan 72, Gill 52, Singh 50*) beat Namibia 193 (Gill 4/43) by 5 wickets with 9. overs remaining
Consummate batting and bowling performances from Canada held off a spirited Namibia challenge to keep Canada’s dream of a quarter-final berth alive.
The North American side set themselves well on the way to victory by restricting their opponents to 193 in the first innings, before knocking of their target with ease, early and late slides aside.
Tenacity was a mark of the display. At several points when it appeared Namibia were about to claim the upper hand Canada struck, and though all of Namibia’s top-six got starts, none could go on to a match-defining innings.
The African side will be desperately disappointed to have thrown away their promising platforms, especially considering the start they had, capitalising on a slightly wayward start to move to 22 form four overs. There started the first of several squeezes applied by the Canadians however, and having added just 31 in the next 9.1 overs, frustration told and Jurgen Linde spooned Akash Gill to mid-off.
One brought another soon after with mesmeric off-spinner Rommel Shahzad – who impressed again with figures of 2/29 from his 10 overs – coaxing Lohan Louwrens into a big shot, but the sliced hit, intended to go down the ground, went too square and picked out a deep-ish cover, and when Shaun Fouche fell soon after for 21, Namibia were 100/3, and Canada were on top.
From there began Namibia’s best period, during which Eben van Wyk and Erich van Mollendorf added 51 in 10.1 overs. There was plenty of invention and proactivity on display, with one lap sweep from van Mollendorf a particular highlight. Namibia seemed set for a total well in the region of 240, but their dismissals, van Wyk chipping Aman Pathmanathan to cover and van Mollendorf holing out to deep mid-wicket, put those hopes on hold, and the passage may even come to be seen as the contests defining moments.
No further batsman was able to score with any fluency. Nicol Loftie-Eaton and Petrus Burger added just 11 in a turgid four-and-a-half over stand, and when the former fell, Namibia collapsed in a heap, Gill taking the last two to finish with excellent figures of 4/43.
It wasn’t the last impact he’d have, striking 52 to help Canada recover from 20/2. His and Arslan Khan’s partnership of 110 took the wind out of Namibia’s sails, the latter in particular catching the eye, with a compact but appealing batting style, all crisp punches and firm swivel-pulls.
Even when Gill was dismissed panic didn’t set in, Kevin Singh looking immediately at ease. But Arslan Khan’s dismissal set in motion of collapse of 3/6 which momentarily set pulses racing. All the while Singh remained at the crease, bemused by the carnage going on all around him, and when he started blocking and aborting singles one feared for Canada.
He kept his cool though, finally sealing victory with a lofted drive down the ground and a leg glance, bringing up his fifty at the same time, a perfectly scripted finish.