Namibia: Bowlers prepare for narrow victory
Eagles coach Pierre de Bruyn has praised his bowlers after Namibia A secured a narrow two-point victory over Ireland Wolves at Wanderers’ ground on Monday.
In a match shortened to 18 overs-a-side due to overnight rain, and later to be canceled due to lightning, Namibia were declared the winners via the Duckworth Lewis system, after scoring 41/4 on seven overs in response to Ireland A 90 all out.
While the Namibian batters looked a bit shaky against an Irish-inspired game of bowling, it was their bowlers who led the way to victory with superb performances.
“It’s a win, I know it was close at the end, but we played really well, and getting this team out for 90 was a fantastic performance from Ben Shikongo, Pikky Ya France and all the bowlers. Their execution of shots and skill was right up there, so I was very happy from a bowling perspective,” he said.
Shikongo immediately put the visitors in trouble when he fired Jeremy Lawlor for a third duck, and Ireland A never recovered.
Murray Commins with 29 and Curtis Campher with 22 were the only Irish batsmen to reach double figures as the Namibian bowlers tore up the batting order, with Shikongo taking 3/14, Pikky Ya France 3/12 and Nicol Loftie- Eatons 2/22.
It didn’t really seem like a total, but Namibia also got into trouble quickly against inspired Irish bowlers.
Jan Balt and Loftie-Eaton were both dismissed for ducks and when Lohan Louwrens was dismissed for 6 they had three wickets with just eight runs on the board.
Shaun Fouche and Karl Birkenstock restarted the innings with a 26-run partnership, before Fouche was fired for 12, and when lightning ended the game Birkenstock was 16 not out and JJ Smit 4 not with the total at 41/4 off seven overs.
De Bruyn admitted the stick was not up to snuff but said he was trying to give fringe players and upcoming youngsters more opportunities to expand his squad.
“From a batting perspective, they’re still young players and learning their craft and that’s what I’m focusing on in this series – creating more opportunities for fringe players who are still on the team but who don’t have a lot of playing time, while integrating young players who I have identified in the system and who I want to give opportunities to taste this level of cricket,” he said.
“I want to grow our pool of players, I can’t just have 15 or 16 players to choose from in the future, especially with the schedule we have – the bigger the pool, the stronger the competition and the bigger the selection. will be tough, which I want, so I’m trying to build some depth in our system, for a very long time we’ve had major issues with our top hitter, so that’s definitely an area of focus for me, to create more competition around these spots,” he added.
Namibia A and Ireland Wolves will play a total of three T20s (the second T20 starts at 10am at Wanderers today) and five One Day International matches over the next two weeks.
De Bruyn said it was a great opportunity for young players but also called for patience to allow them to develop.
“There are still seven games left which means opportunities for us and the main thing is that we have to be patient, as supporters and as coaches. These young players only know club cricket which is mediocre and not up to standard for that they understand the right level of cricket,” he said.
“So we have to be patient with them – they will make mistakes, but that’s how quickly they learn from those mistakes and I think they’re absolutely in the right environment with the right people and senior players to learn from their mistakes and learning, so I’m looking forward to giving the players more opportunities in the upcoming one-day matches,” he added.