Namibia 287-8 (49) JP Kotze 136, Jan Frylinck 60*, Jessy Singh 8-1-51-4 defeated USA 142 (37) Aaron Jones 44, Steven Taylor 27, Zhivago Groenewald 8-1-20-5) by 139 runs (revised target 282 from 47 overs)

After suffering a harsh loss in the first encounter, Namibia has rallied back to score a 139-run win against the USA.

There was a short pre-game rain interruption, reducing the game to 49 overs a team. Saurabh Netravalkar won the toss for USA, and sent Namibia in to bat first.

The hosts had early success when Jessy Singh knocked over Karl Birkenstock with a fiery, inswinging yorker in the second over. However, the jubilation was short-lived; Singh overstepped on the third delivery, which JP Kotze, Namibia’s No. 3, edged for four. Kotze would then powerfully slog the free hit over wide-long on, the first maximum of the innings.

JP Kotze slog sweeps over midwicket for 6 (ICC/Peter Della Penna)

The sprightly beginning for Kotze was the buildup for what would be a masterclass of powerful striking to all areas. Even though spin has been the go-to option for all teams, Kotze decided that attack is the best form of defence. He had a particular liking for Steven Taylor’s off spin, slog-sweeping him for consecutive sixes over midwicket in the 12th over, completing a counterattacking half-century.

Stephen Baard provided decent support until Timil Patel struck on his first delivery to remove him for 18. Baard and Kotze had already added 97 runs, and Kotze would add another 79 runs with his skipper, Gerhard Erasmus. Kotze scored the lion’s share in both partnerships, and reached his century in 88 balls. This was also the first ton of this tri-series.

Kotze’s leg-side stroke play continued to boss much of the innings – Karima Gore, USA’s superstar in the earlier games, was also taken to the cleaners. The reintroduction of seamer Jessy Singh brought about the twist – Kotze toe-ended a slog to Nisarg Patel at long-on for 136, and 5 dot balls later, Erasmus popped a simple catch to short midwicket. The double-wicket maiden rocked Namibia’s progress; the run rate that was once almost 6 and a half fizzled to 5.3 in the space of 10 overs.

Jan Frylinck heaves Saurabh Netravalkar over midwicket for 6 to bring up a half-century (ICC/Peter Della Penna)

This slowdown brought about the wickets of Zane Green, Singh’s fourth scalp and a brilliant run-out of JJ Smit.

At the 40-over mark, it seemed like the best finish would be around 260, especially with Craig Williams struggling for tempo and timing, and Jan Frylinck new to the crease. Unfortunately for the hosts, Singh couldn’t finish well in his final over, conceding 19 runs and overstepping, in the process. Frylinck showcased his powerful blows as the middle-order finisher.

Saurabh Netravalkar couldn’t find the yorker and his full-tosses were duly put away by Frylinck, who reached a half-century in 40 deliveries. In the final over, Nisarg Patel dismissed both Frylinck and Williams, but Pikky Ya France rounded off the innings with a four and a six, propelling his side to a respectable 287 for 8 in 49. Singh was the pick of the bowlers, albeit on the expensive side for his 4-wicket haul.

Jan Frylinck acknowledges his teammates’ applause after reaching his half-century (ICC/Peter Della Penna)

The Americans would have their work cut out to chase down the stiff target, especially with the slowness of the surface coming into play.

After starring with the bat, Frylinck bagged the wicket of the out-of-form Xavier Marshall, and the chase was dented early. Jaskaran Malhotra and Steven Taylor had to dig in, and scored crisply off Craig Williams’ medium pace.

Enter Zhivago Groenewald – the left-arm spinner who took three wickets in the previous encounter. His second ball was a quicker, shortish arm ball, which Malhotra chopped on, in an attempt to pull. This dismissal sparked a catastrophic phase – offspinner Pikky Ya France bowled Monank Patel through the gate. Taylor and Aaron Jones strung together the best partnership of the innings – 44 runs in 71 balls. With the asking rate and pressure both climbing, the batsmen often looked unsettled, and were beaten several times due to the turn.

Zhivago Groenewald gives a high five from Craig Williams after taking a wicket (ICC/Peter Della Penna)

Ya France spun one past Taylor’s outside edge, and that was wicket number four. After a 34-run stand with Karima Gore, the innings quickly capsized, with Groenewald continuing to maintain tight lines and bowl wicket-to-wicket, foxing the lower order batsmen.

Despite a couple of rain delays that reduced the chase to 47 overs maximum, that was that for the USA – 142 all out and Groenewald starring with impressive figures of 5 for 20.

The American campaign in Round 2 of CWC League 2 has reached an end, with three wins and a loss. Today’s loss plummeted USA’s net run rate, and now they’re second, trailing Scotland, who also have three wins and a loss.

Namibia has another two games remaining, both against Papua New Guinea. Trouncing the hosts has flicked on the switch for Namibia, and considering their next opponent is looking for the much-needed victory, they should head into the next two games with plenty of confidence.

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