NAMIBIA face UAE in a must-win match today if they want their 2022 T20 World Cup journey to continue. A win might even not be enough to progress to the Super 12s stage of the tournament, in a tight group that could be decided on nett run rate.
The Netherlands have won both their matches and lead the group on four points, while Namibia and Sri Lanka follow on two points each, with the UAE last on zero points.
If Namibia beats UAE, and Sri Lanka beat the Netherlands, the top three teams will all finish on four points with the result that nett run rate will have to determine which two teams progress to the Super 12’s.
Here Namibia are well placed and currently have the best run rate of 1,277 following their upset win against Sri Lanka on Sunday, when they accumulated 163/7 and then dismissed Sri Lanka for 108, and despite a five-wicket defeat to the Netherlands two days later, their run rate was not affected much.
Despite topping the group, the Netherlands have the worst run rate of the three contenders at 0,149, while Sri Lanka’s rate is 0,600. Percentages could therefore come into play and a convincing victory might be needed to secure passage to the Super 12s.
Against the Netherlands, Namibia posted a modest total on a difficult wicket but recovered well and eventually ran the Dutch close before losing with three balls to spare.
The UAE, though, also ran the Netherlands close, losing by three wickets with one ball to spare, and on paper there’s not much to choose between the two teams who have been regular competitors on the World Cup Division 2 circuit.
In their most recent contest in Sharjah in March, the UAE emerged as the winners in the 50-over competition.
On 8 March, they beat Namibia by three wickets, restricting Namibia to 206/8 and then scoring 207/7, with Basil Hameed scoring 62 and Kashif Daud 76 not out, while JJ Smit took 4/36.
Four days later UAE once again won, by 43 runs, after posting 348/3, with Chirag Suri scoring 103 and Vriitya Aravind 115, and then restricting Namibia to 305/9, with Smit scoring 47, Jan Frylinck 42 and the retired Craig Williams 79.
Their T20 contests, though, have been quite even in recent years and as has been seen so far at the T20 World Cup, none of the matches are foregone conclusions, while there have already been some big upsets.
Namibia led the way with their stunning 55-run win against Sri Lanka in Group A, but Group B has been equally dramatic with Scotland beating the West Indies, and Ireland beating Scotland yesterday.
Namibia certainly have the firepower to win and will be hoping for a good batting start where the young openers Divan La Cock and Michael van Lingen have not displayed their great potential yet.
None of the top order batsmen have, in fact, made big knocks yet, with Stephan Baard, Nicol Loftie-Eaton and Gerhard Erasmus all departing too soon.
Jan Frylinck, however, has emerged as a batsman of note with scores of 44 and 43, while JJ Smit, David Wiese and Zane Green at number nine complete a strong batting lineup.
Amongst the bowlers, Frylinck, Smit, and Bernard Scholtz have all been effective, while Ben Shikongo stepped up with great performances against Sri Lanka and Ireland.
They also have several more bowlers to call upon, while their fielding has been brilliant, with Loftie-Eaton taking a great diving catch and Erasmus a great run out, amongst others.
Namibia have shown that they belong on the biggest stage at the T20 Big Bash and certainly have the potential to prolong their stay.