In preparation for its must win away matches against Papua New Guinea (PNG) in October, Namibia’s senior cricket team will participate in this weekend’s African T20 Cup ahead of their clash against Saudi Arabia in Windhoek in a fortnight’s time.
Namibia will confront PNG in the Intercontinental Cup from October 16 while also fighting for World Cricket League points against the islanders at the same venue two days later.
“We are currently in a precarious position in the Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket
League and have to win both matches or risk being relegated to the lower division in future,” says coach of the Eagles Dayanand Thakur.
According to Thakur, PNG is a quality side though Namibia got the better of their opponents last year but remain confident of manufacturing a good result away from home.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup is an International First Class Tourney – featuring leading associate members with the winner to play four five-dayers against the bottom ranked Test nation, an event known as the 2018 ICC Test Challenge.
Should the winner of this tourney claim the ICC Test Challenge, they will be bestowed the status of the 11th Test playing nation.
Namibia, so far, have won against Hong Kong in their opening match but fell short to Hong Kong and Afghanistan in subsequent matches.
The ICC World Cricket League Championship is an elite 50-over competition played between leading Associate and Affiliate members.
The tourney provides a pathway for participating teams to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and also have a chance to qualify for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Namibia currently stands at one win and two losses.
Thakur and his men will get their first chance to showcase their skills when they take on South African sides KwaZulu-Natal Inland, North West and Western Province in the group phase of the African T20 Cup, starting tomorrow morning in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
“So far, no associate country has ever won a group stage at this particular event, but that is what we are striving for and we cannot afford to go out there just to participate,” charged Thakur confidently.
Lots of pressure rest on the shoulders of established cricketers Sarel Burger, Craig Williams, Gerrie Snyman, Nicolaas and Bernard Scholtz, Hellao ya France and Stephen Baard who have all committed to the side for the next two years and are raring to go.
“We had three warm-up matches against a mixed local team last weekend and though we lost on two occasions, there are a lot of positives we can take out of it. The team got progressively better and hopefully we can take this into our next games.”
Saudi Arabia arrive in Namibia for three friendly games as the two nations, aiming to foster a long-term relationship for the future, will play one T20 match on the 16th, followed by two 50-over matches the following two days.