Abu Dhabi: It was a big test for Namibia, against one of the best bowling attacks in the world on a wicket that can test even the best. Still, Namibia have done themselves proud by running close with Pakistan for most part of the match.
“We knew from the start that Pakistan are a high-quality side. We knew we’d have to compete hard and I thought we did that for quite a while. Pakistan were outstanding with their shot selection and their quality showed through the back end of the innings,” Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia skipper, said at the post-match ceremony.
You call it nerves or inexperience, the minnows have a knack of letting their grip slip at crucial stages of the match against strong teams, who taking that opportunity take a sizeable lead to emerge winners.
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The story went on the similar lines at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the second match of the double-header. Namibia, after restricting Pakistan for almost 15 overs, gave away 67 runs in 34 balls, conceding 24 off the last six. That proved the decisive factor in the end. That too Namibia’s effort came on the same wicket that earlier in the day say Bangladesh all out 84 against a similar South African attack.
The final flourish not only gave Pakistan the extra runs, but also shifted the momentum completely when they came back to bowl.
We’ll be looking to get some great exposure for our players, you gain the confidence and it shows we can operate at this level. It’s a real milestone for cricket in Namibia
A curious look at the scorecard brings to the fact that there was not much of a difference until the 15th over with Namibia scoring 101/4, probably a difference of 10-15 runs though the final margin looks big. This innings will give Namibia the motivation and the confidence for the future games.
The missing link in the jigsaw puzzle is a win against one of the cricketing superpowers, which will give them the self-belief. In the past, Bangladesh entered the big league after stunning Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, Kenya and Afghanistan stunning the West Indies, Ireland ending England hopes in 2011 World Cup. The list is endless.
“ [Next games] Doesn’t get any easier, New Zealand are quality, but we’ll take confidence and try to take that game as deep as we can,” Erasmus added.
It’s a difficult task for a country that has only 18 players to select from as opposed to millions playing the game. At the top level, you don’t win in between the 22 yards, you win between the ears. That can come only with experience.
“We’ll be looking to get some great exposure for our players, you gain the confidence and it shows we can operate at this level. It’s a real milestone for cricket in Namibia.”