Will Namibia Spring a Bombshell?

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK In what could be termed a David vs Goliath encounter, Namibia will take on India today in the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup, which started in Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday. Namibia will face India, the world’s biggest cricket-playing nation, in their first match of the tournament. Namibia and India are in Group C along with Scotland and Sri Lanka. Only two sides from each group can progress to the Super League quarterfinals after the round-robin matches. Although a win against India is unlikely tomorrow, the Namibia Cricket Association President Laurie Pieters is optimistic that Namibia can surprise the cricket world today. Speaking to New Era yesterday afternoon Pieters said it will be a very difficult game against India but it is not impossible for Namibia to get a result. ” If we beat India, we shake the whole world and Tuesday should be declared a public holiday.” Pieters said India are definitely the favorites and have some of the finest players in the world. The cricket association president however cautioned that Namibians should not be too optimistic as Namibia is still in a transformation phase. “We are building towards the World Cup 2011 and have a seven-year plan and Namibia’s real talent/strength will be realized in future.” Pieters highlighted that most of the players who traveled to Sri Lanka are under 17 players and still very young. The cricket president however noted that Namibia stands a better chance against Sri Lanka in the second game. ” We beat Sri Lanka at the last Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand and we are capable of doing it again.” Pieters is also fully aware that Sri Lanka is playing at home and added that the humid conditions and different playing surface could count in the favour of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka got the fright of their lives before seeing off Associate side Scotland by four wickets on the opening day of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Sunday. Scotland recovered from 30-5 to post a useful total of 186 thanks to captain Kasaim Farid, who made a fighting 76 from 89 balls. It was not expected to test the home side but excellent bowling from Gordon Goudie helped reduce Sri Lanka to 54-4 before they got home thanks to contributions from Sachithra Serasinghe (64) and captain Angelo Mathews (37 not out). But it could, and perhaps should, have been so different. Serasinghe was caught off a Calum MacLeod no-ball on 30 and four runs later was missed at third man off the same bowler. Scotland were their own worst enemy as they conceded 38 runs in extras, including 22 wides and 11 no-balls, and in the end that helped tip the balance in Sri Lanka’s favour despite Goudie’s 3-25 from his ten overs. Earlier Sri Lanka’s seam bowlers had taken advantage of early life in the pitch to wreck the Scotland top-or-der. Mathews and his fellow seamers Thisara Perera and Shalika Karunanayake shared eight wickets on a surface that was covered the day before the game because of heavy rain. Sri Lanka’s spinners were not as effective as the seam bowlers with left-armer Sachith Pathirana and off-spinner Rajeewa Weerasinghe bowling 16 overs between them for 75 runs and just one wicket. That wicket was, however, the prize scalp of Farid, stumped by Sameera Zoysa, Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper and vice-captain, off Pathirana after hitting two sixes and four fours in a 133-minute stay at the crease. Man of the match Farid added 65 for the sixth wicket with super sub Scott McLennan, called up to replace the unfortunate Rajeev Routray before the latter had a chance to contribute, and then a further 60 with Amair Mehmood, who was the innings’ second top-score with 23. – Additional reporting ICC website

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