Namibia made it two wins in two days to keep their T20 World Cup qualification hopes alive when they closed out a 6 wicket-win over Bermuda at the ICC Academy Oval 2 this morning in Dubai. For Bermuda, another chastening defeat leaves them winless after four games, and all but mathematically eliminated from contention.
Bermuda made three changes to the side that fell to Kenya on Tuesday. After that game, captain Dion Stovell bemoaned the performance of the top order batting, himself included, and hinted that there would be changes in that department for today – and indeed he found himself one of the three players dropped amid a radical change of the batting line-up.
It made little difference sadly. Big hitting Kamau Leverock was promoted to open but fell just second ball to Jan Frylink for a duck. JJ Smit had Terryn Fray caught by Christi Viljoen in the fourth after a positive 16 off 12 balls to leave the score 21/2, starting a dramatic, if not all-too-familiar, collapse for the Bermudians.
Star batsman Delray Rawlins fell shortly afterward, caught behind off a Viljoen bouncer for 6. Bernard Scholtz (3-17) then tempted veteran Janeiro Tucker forward to be stumped for 6 by Namibia’s keeper Zane Green, before trapping Deunte Darrell lbw for 2 just two balls later, leaving the score at 33/5. Onais Bascome was next to go, gloving a Smit short ball to Green for 1, and when the recalled Malachi Jones became Scholtz’s third victim, the islanders’ score had slumped to 47/7.
After stand-in Bermuda skipper Rodney Trott fell for a duck with the score at 50/8, Bermuda was looking at a tournament low score, however the tail then wagged. Okera Bascome, dropped from opening the batting to number 8 after a string of low scores, chipped in with an innings-high 37 off 31 contributing to a 29-run partnership for the ninth wicket with number 10, Derrick Brangman. After Bascome fell bowled to Viljoen, Brangman continued the late scoring with last man Sinclair Smith, ending up 23 not out.
The late charge brought Bermuda up to 106/9, at least giving their bowlers half a chance, but Namibia was left cursing a missed opportunity to increase their low NRR by finishing off the Americas qualifiers cheaply.
if Brangman’s batting heroics had opened the door slightly for Bermuda, it was firmly slammed back in his face early in Namibia’s reply. After Niko Davin had hit Malachi Jones’ opening over for 11, the Namibia opener turned on the afterburners against Brangman in the second, blasting 23 off the unfortunate bowler in a 24 run-over, including three straight sixes.
Namibia were 35/0 after two overs and clearly targeting that NRR boost, but Kamau Leverock had other ideas, ending Davin’s heroics on 37 in the next over and bouncing out JP Kotze just one legal ball later for a duck. Bowling out his four overs in one spell, alongside Rawlins doing the same from the other end, Leverock took a third wicket (Craig Williams brilliantly caught for 13 by Fray) with the score on 65/3 to give him T20I career best figures of 3-18, Impressive as Leverock’s spell was, it was never likely to be enough such was the low target, and opener Stephen Baard (27), captain Gerhard Erasmus (19*) and Smit (12*) saw the Africans home with just under seven overs to go.
Namibia is now tied for second on 4 points alongside four other teams in Group A, but with the lowest NRR of all of them, and face fellow Africans Kenya next on Friday in a crucial game. For Bermuda, it doesn’t get any easier – next up are pre-tournament favourites Scotland tomorrow under the Dubai International Stadium lights and the TV cameras.
(with thanks to Peter Della Penna)