Namibia Move Up To Third Despite Cooper Brilliance

Namibia Move Up To Third Despite Cooper Brilliance
Namibia Move Up To Third Despite Cooper Brilliance
©ICC/Helge Schutz

Namibia 276 & 336 beat
Netherlands 293 & 236 by 83 runs
Intercontinental Cup, Windhoek

An evenly contested ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture between Namibia and the Netherlands was won by the former on the final day in Windhoek. The 14 points from the victory move the home side up to third in the table, behind Ireland and Afghanistan, while the Netherlands’ six points for first innings lead takes them up to sixth in the eight-team event.

Netherlands began the final day needing 320 to win after dismissing Namibia for 336 in their second innings at stumps yesterday. Openers Stephan Myburgh and Michael Rippon began brightly and added 52 in less than eight overs. However, Rippon was caught off Christi Viljoen having scored just seven of the first-wicket partnership, while Louis Klazinga struck twice in the ninth over, ending Myburgh’s cameo at 41 of 29 balls and having wicket-keeper Wesley Barresi caught behind second ball.

Tom Cooper and Daan van Bunge then began the rebuild, with van Bunge the more cautious of the two during their fourth-wicket stand of 59. He made 16 off 64 balls, while Cooper raced to his fifty off only 59 deliveries. Wickets continued to tumble throughout the afternoon, but through it all, Cooper remained. He shared half-century partnerships with Tim Gruijters (22) and Mudassar Bukhari (26) before being seventh man out when on 109. The end came quickly following his departure, with Bernard Scholtz wrapping things up to end with five for 58 with his left-arm spin.

Namibia’s victory only strengthens their position as best of the rest behind Ireland and Afghanistan in Associate/Affiliate cricket. They are slowly overtaking Scotland, who were soundly beaten by Afghanistan across all formats recently despite fielding a clutch of newly-eligible players. 

Indeed, Namibia are slightly unusual among ASAF nations in that almost all of their players were born in the country. They appear to have a commendable reluctance to draft in ageing expats - despite many in neighbouring South Africa surely being eligible - and have several promising youngsters emerging onto the scene. They do, however, utilise their links with South Africa in other ways and field a team in the country’s semi-professional provincial set-up. 

When the two sides on show in this match are compared, the Netherlands team contains players born in Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa with only four born in the country. Namibia’s team, though, has eight home-born players.

One of those home-born players is 22 year-old wicket-keeper Raymond van Schoor, whose first innings 110 was crucial after Timm van der Gugten had removed their top-order cheaply on day one. He shared a fifth-wicket stand with skipper Shanel Burger (71) that helped them recover from 53 for four to post 276. Van der Gugten - who played for Tasmania in Australia’s domestic one-day competition this winter - ended with career-best figures of seven for 68 and would go onto record his maiden ten-wicket haul.

Louis Klazinga and Christi Viljoen shared seven wickets in the Netherlands first innings, but could not prevent them from earning a small first innings lead. Michael Rippon - a left-arm chinaman bowler born in Cape Town but who has played for Sussex - and Cooper added 111 for the second-wicket to set them on their way.

Stephan Baard and the experienced Craig Williams then put on 128 for the Namibian third-wicket in their second innings, despite van der Gugten’s sustained brilliance. That set up their total of 336 and the Dutch’s last day run chase of 320 which, despite Cooper, ended in failure. 

All in all, the match was extremely competitive and tightly-fought all the way to the end. The performance of both sides shows what potential there is lurking beneath the surface in the cricketing world - if only some of the Full Members of the ICC would be a little less protectionist in their outlook.

© Cricket World 2013




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