NAMIBIA’s senior men’s cricket team received a timely boost after beating the Multiply Titans 2-0 in their T20 series over the weekend.
On Friday they beat the Titans by two wickets in Walvis Bay and on Sunday completed a five wicket victory at Trustco United Park in Windhoek.
The series victory was great preparation for the World Cricket League Division 2 series coming up in September, while Namibia also received N$30 000 as the series winners, from the sponsors Momentum, Isuzu and The Dros.
The Titans, who are South Africa’s most successful cricketing franchise, included former Proteas stars Farhaan Behardien and Albie Morkel, as well as some former South African u20 players. A few promising young Namibian players, Dian Neethling, Etienne Beukes and Michal Laubscher also turned out as guest players for the Titans.
The first encounter in Walvis Bay went down to the wire, as Namibia won off the second last ball of the match.
The Titans got off to a solid start as Andrea Agathagelou and Dian Neethling put on 30 runs for the first wicket. Picky Ya France, however, got the breakthrough, dismissing Neethling (11), Grant Thompson (0) and Behardien (3) in quick succession and when Jan Frylinck dismissed Agathagelou for 41, the Titans were struggling at 59 for four wickets.
Matthew Arnold (15) and Conrad Bosch (14) added some stability further down the order, as they reached 92 runs for eight wickets off their 20 overs.
Ya France was the pick of Namibia’s bowlers, taking three wickets for 11 runs, while JJ Smit took 2/25.
In reply, Namibia lost some early wickets as JP Kotze (1), Lohan Louwrens (4), Karl Birkenstock (0) and Zane Green (5) all went cheaply, but Gerhard Erasmus played a captain’s innings to take them to victory.
He scored 40 not out off 39 balls, which included three fours, as Namibia reached 93/8 with a ball to spare.
In the second encounter on Sunday, a great knock by Behardien enabled the Titans to reach 117 for six wickets off their 20 overs. He scored 55 not out off 50 balls, which included a six and two fours, but there wasn’t much support, with only Grant Thompson (19) and Corbin Bosch (10) the other batsmen to reach double figures.
Jan Frylinck was Namibia’s best bowler with two wickets for 21 runs.
In Namibia’s innings, Stephen Baard (1) and JP Kotze (13) were dismissed early, but Lohan Louwrens kept them in contention with a great knock.
He was eventually dismissed for 48 off 42 balls (2×6, 2×4) and showed great sportsmanship to walk after being caught behind, even though the umpire didn’t give him out.
JJ Smit (24 not out) and Picky Ya France (10 not out) took them to a comfortable victory as they reached 122/5 with 10 balls to spare.
Namibian coach Pierre de Bruyn expressed satisfaction with their performance.
“We took these games very seriously and every game that we play we see as an opportunity for our players to prove themselves. There’s a lot of competition within the squad, so we are very satisfied with our performance and now we can build towards the United States tournament in September,” he said.
“We’ve got eight weeks before we go to the USA and we’ve planned our training programme, which will possibly include another exciting team coming here in August, so the hard work starts now,” he added.
The CEO of Multiply Titans, Jacques Faul, was very impressed with the standard of Namibian cricket.
“Thanks Namibia for a wonderful time, we really enjoyed our visit. We were hoping to do better, but the Eagles have a fantastic team with some great young talent.
“You have the team, now you just have to develop a commercial mindset. It wasn’t a bad Titans team, so you’ve got great potential. If I had a business in Namibia I would get in 100 percent behind this team,” he added.