Game 9: Namibia v Canada Match Report

Namibia 258/7 off 50.0 overs (Baard 90, Williams 65*, Zafar 2/32) defeated Canada 160 (Heyliger 29*, Frylinck 3/24, Groenewald 3/42) by 98 runs.

In the dying overs of Canada’s chase today, a Hadeda rose above Trustco united, flapping despairingly against a powerful headwind. The native Windhoek ibis bird climbed the thermals of this windy corner but for all its efforts the elements were too much and it rapidly sank back to ground level. Far below the Hadeda, Canada’s Dilon Heyliger played a similarly Capanean hand against the elemental forces of a dominant Namibian bowling attack, topscoring from number 10 with a resolute 29* laced with 4 boundaries. The silence of the Canadian team tent as he muscled a slog sweep over midwicket was as loud a summation of the match situation as one could hope to hear.

Much like a bird fighting the wind, it was a brief highlight in a lost cause after regular wickets undermined the Canadian chase. First, Jan Frylinck extracted an edge outside off as Dhaliwal wafted vaguely, then Rodrigo Thomas counterattacked with a thumping drive for six into the sightscreen over Viljoen’s head. Thomas briefly looked dangerous for his 28 before succumbing to Namibian skipper Gerard Erasmus with an overconfident flick through leg that he miscued straight; Erasmus, the tournament’s best fielder so far, pounced forward and snapped up a sharp chance.

Earlier in the day, Erasmus himself had fallen to a caught-and-bowled as he forced off the back foot and Nikhil Dutta snatched it from close to the ground. While Erasmus today failed (despite thumping a glorious slog-swept six over midwicket to send the home crowd into raptures), Namibia rode on the back of a disciplined 90 from Stephen Baard, who applied himself early on to survive a testing opening spell from surprise opening bowler Navneet Dhaliwal (who also grabbed a caught-and-bowled, with a full-blooded Kotze straight drive sticking in his outstretched hand on the way past). Baard absorbed the pressure built by tight spells from the right-arm/left-arm finger spin combo of Nikhil Dutta and Saad bin Zafar, allowing Craig Williams to play a carefree knock of 65* (59) – the highlight of which was rocking onto the back foot to send a glorious pull shot off Dilon Heyliger sailing over midwicket with a sound off the willow that would make Stravinsky smile at its beauty.

When Baard was dismissed in the 43rd over, tamely bowled punching across the line of Dutta, Williams became the senior partner in a handy 51-run liaison with JJ Smit, who biffed 3 sixes on his way to 35 (23). The late acceleration from Williams and Smit, who thumped both Dhaliwal (inexplicably returning during the death overs) and Eranga (who struggled to line up his yorkers) for massive blows over cow corner and out of the confines of Trustco ground, propelled Namibia to a challenging 258/6.

After calling correctly at the toss, Canada skipper Davy Jacobs had probably envisioned a less toothless effort from his seamers (both Eranga and Heyliger went for over 7 per over), but with the pitch behaving rather politely after the spitting tantrum of a track that featured in the USA-Oman match on Saturday, the Canadian batsmen only have themselves to blame.

Described as “filthy” by former Dutch skipper Pete Borren, who worked with the Namibians ahead of WCL2, the fact that Erasmus’ part-time offspin not only validated the adage that “crap gets wickets” but also tied up the run rate speaks to the muddled batting approach of the North Americans. Overly conservative when they looked set, and playing aggressive shots when consolidation was required, they seemed to let the required run rate into their heads, and once key man Nitish Kumar went chopping on to a cramping delivery from Zhivago Groenewald (3/42), it was essentially a procession.

With this defeat, Namibia firm up their position in the top 4 and Canada sink further into the mire of last place. Down on confidence and looking thoroughly outclassed, the Canadians will need to find another gear with both bat and ball if they’re any hope of winning. Namibia, meanwhile, will be happy to see contributions from all quarters so far in the campaign – they look a strong unit that is firing cohesively and should most likely win promotion to ODI status before the week is through.


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