This has been a vital learning curve for Namibia at the T20 World Cup
This has been a vital learning curve for Namibia at the T20 World Cup Image Credit: AP

Namibia is an Associate of the International Cricket Council, and full membership is not coming soon. They still have a lot of ground to cover, and that’s apparent in the defeat against Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. But, they certainly have made huge strides.

The last few weeks were perhaps Namibia’s best in its short cricketing history. Two wins and a loss in Round One of the tournament fetched them a place in Super 12s. It’s a significant feat for a country trying to put together a cricket structure; they are reported to have professional contracts for players. So that’s better than a lot of countries.

In the clash of the Associates, Namibia defeated Scotland, and they would have savoured it. But that win masked flaws in their batting and their inability to handle pressure which Afghanistan exposed.

Namibia’s batting test


The Afghanistan game served as an examination of Namibia’s skills. It showed where they stood in the global cricket sweepstakes.

As expected, their batting failed against Afghanistan. What’s worse, they could not get going against pace bowling, which is not Afghanistan’s forte. The Namibian struggle didn’t do justice to their batting.

Spinners would have provided the Namibian batsmen with a more searching examination, but it didn’t happen. They played out ace Afghan leggie Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi bowled only two overs in the powerplay. Mystery spinner Mujib-Ur-Rahman did not play due to an injury.

But Namibia can take heart from their bowlers’ performance. Although Afghan openers raced away in the powerplay, Namibian bowlers pulled them back in the middle-overs. That’s perhaps the best takeaway from the match for Namibia.

Afghanistan was an Associate before they became a full member. They gained promotion on the sheer strength of their displays, and they have always given the top cricket-playing nations a run for their money. Even in the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, Afghanistan ran Indian and Pakistan close.

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Even in this tournament, Afghanistan are in the running for a semifinal berth. True, they lost to Pakistan; they are still in with a chance.

Perhaps, Afghanistan’s rise to the cricketing elite raises the hopes of Namibia. This is Namibia’s golden generation, a group of players inspired by their country’s performance in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

Namibia are unlikely to cause upsets in the UAE. But the results are part of a steep learning curve, and the experience that will strengthen Namibia.