Cricket

Namibia look to David Wiese for inspiration in their return to big stage after 18 years

By Amit Shukla

Namibia will be making their 1st appearance in a T20 World Cup. However, this won’t be the first occasion that they will be featuring in an ICC event. The African side’s first participation in major events came at the 2003 World Cup. Although, they did come close to qualifying for ICC events on several occasions. But unfortunately, they failed every time. Nonetheless, they finally achieved a qualification in an ICC event after 18 long years, courtesy of their 4th place in T20 World Cup qualifiers in 2019.

Best Moments:

Namibia haven’t won any official matches against any of the full members. Although, they did defeat Bangladesh once in 2003 that victory came in an unofficial ODI. Thus, Namibia’s best moments have mostly been at the Associate level.

They finished runners-up at the World cup qualifiers in 2001. Consequently, they earned qualifications for the 2003 World Cup. Furthermore, they also finished runners up in the 2007-2008 Intercontinental Cup. Namibia were the table-toppers at end of the league stage with 6 wins in 7 matches. However, they lost to Ireland in the final.

Near Misses:

After qualifying for the 2003 World Cup, Namibia missed out on the 2007 World Cup qualification. The African side had to finish in the top 5 for World Cup birth but ended up at the 7th spot.

At the 2012 T20 World Cup qualifiers, Namibia topped their Group, finishing ahead of the likes of Ireland and Scotland. Despite this, they failed to grab a quota for the mega event as they lost both of their qualifying finals.

Other achievements:

Namibia was regular in South Africa’s Interprovincial tournaments from 2002-2018. They finished runners up in the 3 days Interprovincial Cup in 2017-18 where they also topped their pool. Furthermore, they were also runners up in the List A Cup in 2016-17. In T20 format, Namibia finished 3rd in 2014-15 and were semi-finalists at the 2017 Africa T20 Cup. Namibia proved to be more than competitive for the inter-provincial teams in South Africa.

Recent Form:

Although Namibia didn’t play any international matches in 2021 before the recently concluded Dafanews Summer T20 bash, they did have excellent preparation for the tournament. Namibia secured 3-0 wins over Zimbabwe A in both the T20 and the 50 over formats. Further, Namibia also continued their good run when they faced South Africa’s domestic team Titans. Namibia won 3-1 in the T20 series played between the two sides.

Moreover, it was their ability to make huge scores was something which stood out. Johannes Smit, more commonly known as JJ Smit, was particularly impressive as he scored his runs at very high strike rates.

Chances at the T20 World Cup:

Namibia is placed in Group A in the qualifying round with Sri Lanka, Ireland and Netherlands. Undoubtedly, this group is the toughest of the two. It’s certainly not going to be easy for them as the other sides of the group are ranked higher. Yet, anything can happen in the shortest format of this sport.

Namibia have some good hitters like JJ Smit and David Weise. In addition to that, they also have capable top-order batsmen like Craig Williams and skipper Gerhard Erasmus. Both of them are capable of scoring at high strike rates.

Namibia also have some good medium pacers in the fork of JJ Smit, David Weise and Jan Frylinck. They are known for their variations. Hence, the three can be more than useful on the slow and low wickets of the UAE.

Players to watch out for:

David Wiese: Wiese, the former South Africa allrounder, qualified for Namibia as his father is a Namibian. The 36-year-old also played 15 matches for RCB from 2015-2016 in IPL where he score 127 runs and took 16 wickets. David Wiese also featured in 6 ODIs and 20 T20Is for South Africa. However, he left South Africa in 2016 after signing a Kolpak deal in County Cricket. The veteran has also featured in various T20 leagues around the world. Recently, he represented St Lucia King at the CPL 2021. The pace-bowling allrounder took 11 wickets in 5 matches including 2 5 wickets haul. In addition to that, he also accumulated 91 runs at a strike rate of 126.

Johannes Smit: JJ Smit was in excellent form in the matches against South Africa Emerging and Zimbabwe Emerging teams. The 25-year-old struck a century against South Africa Emerging side, finishing at 103* off 45 balls. Besides that, she also whacked 93* off 29 balls against Zimbabwe Emerging. Johannes Smit has picked up 13 wickets in 8 ODIs at an average of 17 besides 144 runs at an average of 20. In T20Is, the left-arm medium-pacer has taken 16 wickets in 15 T20I at an average of 14. Furthermore, he has been equally impressive with his big-hitting. The right-hander has made 281 runs at an average of 31 and a strike rate of 162.4.

Gerhard Erasmus: Erasmus struck 291 runs in the 3 50 overs matches against the Zimbabwe Emerging team. The 26-year-old has scored 226 runs in 8 ODIs at an average of 28. In the T20Is, he has struck 484 runs in 19 innings at an average of 40 and a strike rate of 141.

Full squad:

Batsmen:

Gerhard Erasmus (c) (RHB, OB)
Stephan Baard (RHB)
Karl Birkenstock (LHB)
Michau du Preez (RHB)
Jan Nicol Loftie Eaton (LHB, RM)
Craig Williams (RHB, RM)

Wicket-keepers:

Zane Green (LHB)

All-Rounders:

Jan Frylinck (LHB, LFM)
Johannes Smit (RHB, LMF)
Michael van Lingen (LHB, LM)
David Wiese (RHB, RMF)

Spinners:

Bernard Scholtz (RHB, SLA)
Pikky Ya France (RHB, OB)

Pacers:

Ben Shikongo (RHB, RMF)
Ruben Trumpelmann (RHB, LF)

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