Group A: Namibia 159/6 (Smit 43, Erasmus 37, Davey 2-29) defeated Scotland 135/8 (Macloed 39, Berrington 23, Frylinck 2-15) by 24 runs.
Although considered one of the strongest teams in the competition, Scotland’s first three games were all scrappy affairs, with both wins looking like they could have become losses at points. And with captain Kyle Coetzer absent due to the effects of dehydration suffered in the previous game, they looked a far less formidable opposition than their reputation. Namibia came into the came off two resounding defeats against the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea, but had the benefit of an extra day’s rest compared to Scotland, who fielded in 35-degree heat on the previous day.
Craig Wallace came in for Coetzer at the top of the order, and Oli Hairs was dropped for the all-rounder Michael Leask, allowing stand-in captain Richie Berrington six bowling options without having to resort to himself. Berrington had done admirably in the second innings against Kenya, while Coetzer was off the field, as Scotland defended what felt like a sub-par total to gain their second win.
For much of Namibia’s first innings, Scotland did seem to have the same control, as they found consistent wickets and didn’t allow the run rate to creep up. Mark Watt and Safyaan Sharif conceded just 9 runs combined of their opening overs, before Josh Davey claimed the first wicket in the 3rd. Watt and Hamza Tahir followed with wickets of their own as Namibia were consistently pinned back, and by the halfway point were still below a run a ball.
The pressure was released by Leask, who had performed brilliantly as a fielding sub in earlier matches, but his first over of the tournament went for 14, as Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus took him to the fences. Erasmus repeated the dose against Mark Watt in the following over, before perishing trying to repeat it against Tom Sole, breaking a 49-run stand. This brought JJ Smit to the crease, who nudged Hamza Tahir around for an over, before unleashing against the seamers. Hitting four sixes in total on his way to a 22-ball 43, he transformed what was looking like a middling total into one that was arguably above par, as Namibia finished on 159/6.
With Coetzer out, much of Scotland’s batting relied on George Munsey getting off to a fast start. He did half of the job, hitting the first two balls of the innings to the boundary, but from there the Scotland innings faltered and never recovered. Makeshift opener Craig Wallace was bowled second ball, before Munsey was run out by a sharp throw from the fence by Niko Davin, leaving Scotland in trouble at 17/2. Calum MacLeod and captain Berrington mounted a rearguard, but their occasional pressure release shots to the fence were almost too occasional, as the required run rate reached 10 by the half way point.
An exceptional piece of fielding broke the partnership, as Jan Frylinck covered good ground to intercept a line drive from Berrington. Frylinck then made a second breakthrough with the ball, having Michael Leask caught off a full toss, ending the all-rounder’s middling comeback match. With the required run rate now floating at twelves, and Matthew Cross joining Calum MacLeod, it would require a strong effort to haul it back, and when MacLeod departed for 39 from 46. A silver lining was applied as Josh Davey and Safyaan Sharif showed some of the boundary-hitting the top order was missing, claiming 25 runs off the final two overs to save some net run rate loss for the team, finishing the innings on 135/8. With only two wins in four games and neither of those wins convincing, Scotland is almost in panic mode as they approach the back end of the group stage.
Any idea why Ben Shikongo did not bowl again after that first wicket? It’s a not worrying after Pikky Ya France also bowtie just one over in each of their previous matches, although there you could at least suspect cricketing reasons with him leaking runs.
Stupid autocorrect there, bowled instead of bowtie of course. Sorry.