Namibia made history by qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 stage in their very first appearance at the tournament after beating Ireland in a winner-takes-all Group A shootout.
Set 126 to win, the African nation took their time in the chase before upping the scoring rate dramatically late on thanks to another fast-paced knock from all-rounder David Wiese and a brilliant half-century from skipper Gerhard Erasmus. The win sees Namibia qualify ahead of Ireland from Group A, moving into Group 2 alongside India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland.
Earlier, Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien had got Ireland’s innings off a stunning start, but the pair fell in quick succession to slow the rate as the Irish reached 71 after ten overs, with eight wickets in hand. Stirling led the charge early on, registering six boundaries inside the first six overs as Ireland managed the highest powerplay tally of the tournament so far, reaching 55 without loss during that early period.
But Stirling’s big-hitting approach came to a disappointing end when he lofted a catch to Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton in the deep off the bowling of Bernard Scholtz, falling for 38 off 23 balls. And Jan Frylinck continued Namibia’s recovery in the ninth over, tempting O’Brien into a risky shot, with Michael van Lingen taking the catch in the deep.
The early flurry of runs seemingly justified Ireland’s decision to bat first after winning the toss in Sharjah. But the departure of the two openers proved the start of the unravelling for Ireland, with captain Andy Balbirnie scoring 21 off 28 balls. Frylinck and Wiese did the damage with the ball in Namibia’s recovery, taking five wickets between them as they hauled Ireland’s innings back under control, restricting them to 125 off the 20 overs.
Namibia’s top order adopted a patient strategy in reply to Ireland’s 125/8, with Zane Green and Erasmus helping Namibia to 49/1 after 10 overs. Curtis Campher took the only wicket of Craig Williams (15), but much of the credit for the dismissal went to O’Brien in the field, who pulled off a blinding catch at mid-on. Adair suffered a side strain and was forced to leave the field of play after sending down just 10 deliveries, leaving Ireland short of bowling options.
A second terrific catch from O’Brien sent Green back to the hutch for 24 (32) as the required rate was beginning to rise to dangerous levels. But the dismissal of Green brought big-hitting Wiese to the crease, and his partnership with captain Erasmus saw Namibia across the line and record the most famous victory in Namibia’s cricket history. Wiese finished with 28 off just 14 deliveries, with Erasmus bagging an unbeaten half-century, ending on 53 off 49. Victory for Namibia also sealed a spot in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, with all Super 12 teams from this tournament automatically qualifying for the next edition.
SCORES IN BRIEF
NAMIBIA 126/2 in 18.3 overs (Gerhard Erasmus 54, David Wiese 28; Curtis Campher 2/14) beat IRELAND 125/8 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 38, Kevin O’Brien 25; Jan Frylinck 3/21, David Wiese 2/22) by 8 wickets.

Namibia make history by qualifying for Super 12 1

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