NAMIBIA’s preparations for the T20 World Cup Qualifier remained on track with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against Nigeria in a friendly match in Dubai on Tuesday.
Nigeria batted first and were restricted to 96 for nine wickets, while Namibia easily reached the target for the loss of only two wickets and with half of their overs still remaining.
In Nigeria’s innings, their openers Daniel Ajekun and Leke Oyede got off to a solid start, sharing a 55-run partnership for the first wicket before Bernard Scholtz got the breakthrough, bowling Ajekun for 16.
Scholtz soon struck again when he also bowled Oyede for 35, and from there on the wickets fell at regular intervals, as they lost their next seven wickets for only 19 runs.
Scholtz, with two wickets for 17 runs; Christi Viljoen (2/6) and Craig Williams (2/10) were Namibia’s top bowlers.
Namibia’s openers JP Kotze and Niko Davin attacked Nigeria’s bowling from the start, and shared a first wicket partnership of 44 at more than 10 runs an over, before Kotze was dismissed for 20.
Davin followed soon after for 33, but Gerhard Erasmus (32 not out) and JJ Smit (nine not out) took Namibia to a comfortable victory with 59 balls still remaining.
The previous day, Namibia, however, suffered a four-wicket defeat to Hong Kong in a match that went down to the wire.
Namibia scored 131 for eight wickets off their 20 overs, but Hong Kong reached the winning target for the loss of six wickets and with only one ball remaining.
Namibia’s innings got off to a disastrous start after they lost their first three wickets with only 12 runs on the board.
Karl Birkenstock (2), Niko Davin (2) and JP Kotze (4) all went cheaply, but Namibia’s middle order managed to revive the innings somewhat, with captain Gerhard Erasmus scoring 18, Craig Williams 16 and Christi Viljoen 25.
With the score at 70/6, Namibia were still in trouble, but JJ Smit with 35 not out, which included three sixes and one four, and Jan Frylinck (16) managed to take Namibia to a respectable score in the end.
Hong Kong got off to a solid start, with Nizakat Khan and Aizaz Khan putting on 47 runs for the first wicket, but Bernard Scholtz once again got the breakthrough when he dismissed Nizakat Khan for 18 as well as Aizaz Khan for 25.
Pikky Ya France dismissed Kinchit Shah for eight, and when Scholtz claimed his third wicket when he bowled Haroon Arshad for a duck, Hong Kong were struggling at 63/4 with less than half their overs remaining.
Their middle order, however, came to the rescue with Waqas Burkat scoring 17, Scott McKechnie 31 not out and Simandeep Singh 19 as Singapore reached 132/6 with one ball remaining.
Scholtz was Namibia’s stand out bowler, with remarkable figures of three wickets for seven runs off four overs.
Last week Namibia’s preparations got off to a fine start as they beat Papua New Guinea and UAE on successive days.
On 9 October, PNG seemed to be heading for victory, but a stunning batting performance by Craig Williams led Namibia to a five-wicket victory.
PNG scored a formidable 208 for three wickets in their 20 overs, with Lega Siaka leading the onslaught with a fine century. He scored 112 not out off only 63 balls, which included six fours and nine sixes.
Namibia lost Stephen Baard early on for only three runs, but Niko Davin with 69, Gerhard Erasmus (38), JP Kotze (18), Zane Green (10) and JJ Smit (22 not out) restored some credibility to Namibia’s total.
With one over remaining, however, victory seemed beyond them as they still needed to score 34 runs, but Williams rose to the occasion, smashing 32 runs, with two no balls, to finish on 42 not out, and give Namibia a thrilling victory.
The next day Namibia also comfortably beat UAE by 10 wickets after a brilliant bowling spell by Jan Frylinck.
He took four wickets for only three runs off two overs as UAE crashed to 75 all out.
Namibia easily reached the target off only eight overs with Karl Birkenstock not out on 43 and Stephen Baard not out on 12.
The World Cup Qualifiers get underway on Friday, while Namibia’s first match is against the Netherlands on Saturday.