Namibia open League 2 home leg with win over PNG

by   •  Published on
Namibia won by 8 wickets (File Photo)
Namibia won by 8 wickets (File Photo) © Getty

After a two-month break for the T20 World Cup, the frenetic final stretch of CWC League 2 resumed at Windhoek today, where hosts Namibia kicked off the first of two back-to-back home trilateral series with an emphatic win over bottom-placed Papua New Guinea, Namibia thus leapfrogging the UAE into fourth place on the table with a chance to overtake the USA and break into the crucial top three when they face the Americans tomorrow.

A fine collective effort from the Eagles' bowling attack had the Barramundis bundled out for just 107, with left-arm quicks JJ Smit and Tangeni Lungameni both bagging a brace early as PNG slumped to 29-5, and the hosts slow-bowlers turning the screw through the middle overs. A rearguard 44 from PNG captain Assad Vala got the tourists to triple figures, but the Namibia top-order would make short work of the chase, closing out the win with 8 wickets and 35 overs to spare.

Namibia took full advantage of early movement in uncharacteristically damp conditions at Wanderers after winning the toss and electing to bowl, as JJ Smit had Gaudi Toka caught at point off a leading edge on the second ball of the match. Soon after Berhard Scholtz's throw from the deep caught Sese Bau short of his ground before Lungameni took two wickets in quick succession. Smit returned to have Tony Ura caught in the deep, and from 29-5 the PNG innings never recovered.

Vala ground out partnerships with Kiplin Doriga and Chad Soper to hold up the collapse, but skipper Gerhard Erasmus and Scholtz kept the pressure on through the middle overs, the home spinners choking the run-scoring and finding regular wickets. Nicol Loftie-Eaton had Vala caught behind six short of a half-century, and though Soper managed to drag the Papuans to triple figures with the tail, he would be the last man out soon after.

Lo-handre Louwrens and Divan la Cock set off briskly in pursuit after the break, racing to 60 without loss to effectively settle the match inside the powerplay. Though both openers then fell in quick succession, Louwrens nicking Soper behind on the drive for 36 in the eighth, and la Cock holing out off Charles Amini five balls later, Erasmus and Michael van Lingen had little trouble in knocking off the remaining runs, their unbroken 46-run stand for the third wicket taking the hosts home before the first drinks break.

The win takes Namibia to 28 points from 23 matches, well placed to push for a podium finish and direct qualification for the World Cup Qualifier. They currently trail third-placed USA by just a single point, and the Americans have already played 32 of their 36 matches. Oman currently top the table on 44 points, but have now completed all of their fixtures. Scotland are four points behind them in second place, with eight matches left to play. Namibia will hope to push past the States into third tomorrow, and establish themselves firmly in the top three over the course of the coming weeks. Following this tri-series they will welcome Nepal and Scotland in December for their final home fixtures.