Now that the dust has settled on Round 2 of CWC League 2, it’s time to announce the XI of the tri-series in Florida.
USA and Namibia were joint beneficiaries of this event, both registering three wins and a loss. Namibia came ahead as victors by a better net run rate, but the hosts have got off to a positive start in League 2. Papua New Guinea’s losing streak continued, with a staggering eight losses in eight games, despite a couple of close finishes in this event.
Without further ado… introducing the Lauderhill XI of 2019 League 2!
1) Stephan Baard (113 runs @ 28.25)
First of all, this series has been a difficult one for opening pairs from all three teams, but the Namibian opener gets in on the back of his solid 73 against Papua New Guinea in the final game, which set up the platform for a swift finish. He got off to a rocky start early on, but saved his best returns for the end.
2) Monank Patel (131 runs @ 43.66)
Not many openers put their hat in the ring on this occasion, but the USA top-order batsman’s consistency earns him a berth in the XI of the series. Patel was a reliable partnership builder whose best knock came against PNG, dragging his side above 150. He may have excelled at the No. 4 position, but he gets his more-preferred opening slot this time.
3) Assad Vala (228 runs @ 57, 3 wickets @ 34)
The PNG batting allrounder not only was in charge of his side – he led them from the front with telling contributions in all four games. Unfortunately, his spirited efforts were in vain, as PNG endured a difficult, winless tour. His all-round show in the final game against Namibia – 104 with the bat and 2/52 with the ball – was definitely the performance of the series. He brings to the table a wealth of experience and composure.
4) J.P. Kotze (221 runs @ 55.25)
A spectacular Player of the Match performance against USA – 136 from 109 balls (11 fours, 8 sixes) – was another highlight of this series. After an early first wicket, Kotze’s counterattack ensured that the hosts would be kept on their toes for most of the innings. His aggressive leg-side play, as well as adaptability to the situation, slots him in.
5) Gerhard Erasmus (c) (110 runs @ 27.50)
As Namibia’s middle order batsman and head honcho, Erasmus did well to steer his team to finish first among the trio. A tremendous 88 in their first game against PNG helped complete a slightly tricky chase with the utmost ease. In addition to his batting, Erasmus can bowl some handy part-time legspin if necessary. Stoic and unwilling to relent, he gets the reins for this team, too.
6) Zane Green (wk) (86 runs @ 21.50)
Not much has to be said – he’s the wicketkeeper batsman who’s got the most runs under his belt. Fought hard against USA in Namibia’s forgettable first game, and scored an important cameo of 41 against PNG in the last game. Top it off with agility behind the stumps and you get the perfect package.
7) Jan Frylinck (96 runs @ 32, 5 wickets @ 20.6)
The left-arm pace bowling allrounder enjoyed a productive time with both skills. A blistering half-century in the second game against the USA propelled Namibia’s first innings when it nearly reached a standstill after Kotze, the centurion, was dismissed. In addition, he bowled accurately and was able to produce swing early in the innings. He adds balance to a potent Namibia side, and indeed he is the premier allrounder of this side.
8) Karima Gore (9 wickets @ 13.66, 72 runs @ 18)
The fantastic find for Team USA, and the third-highest wicket taker in this series. Pressure never fazed the 21-year-old left-arm finger spinner – twice he singlehandedly turned the game on its head. Gore’s 3-wicket haul in the first game against PNG and a triple-wicket maiden en route to a 4-wicket haul in the second game against PNG helped defend 177 with ease. Furthermore, he is no mug with the bat down the order – a valiant 31 ensured that USA wouldn’t capitulate in the opening game.
9) Zhivago Groenewald (11 wickets @ 11.81)
The second specialist spinner in this team, Groenewald was constantly among the wickets. The 5-wicket haul against the USA was the best bowling performance in the event. Not known to be a prodigious turner, Groenewald often relied on variations of speed and took full advantage of the reliably spin-friendly conditions. He may have been a tad off colour in the final game, but he knew how to deliver whenever the situation was tight.
10) Nosaina Pokana (11 wickets @ 13.27)
He hits the deck hard, and hurries the opposition batsmen for pace whenever he motors his way to the crease. The young 23-year-old left-arm seamer from PNG wound up as the joint-highest wicket taker in this series – this was especially good for a pacer, given that the batting track was slow and less conducive. Despite a gloomy outing as a team, PNG will be proud to boast the potential of a young tearaway quick who has the tendency to frequently get early wickets. If top-order wickets are hard to get, then he compensates well with his accurate death bowling, as he did in the final game. 280 was in sight for Namibia, but a quick triple-strike from Pokana ensured that he’d put on the brakes.
11) Bernard Scholtz (8 wickets @ 14.37)
Left-arm spin dominated the series, big time. So why not add another in the best XI? The vastly experienced Namibian often dried up the runs whenever he bowled, but he saved his most noteworthy performance for the end. The 4-wicket haul against PNG not only caused a middle-order collapse, but it came when they were starting to take the game away from Namibia. Scholtz rounds off a very powerful spin attack, and fittingly completes our team of the series.