Home side leads after first innings in Windhoek as 25 wickets fall on day one
Namibia made sure of its place in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup by taking first-innings points against Ireland in Windhoek on Friday.
In the process Louis Burger’s men made it difficult for the defending champion, who now has to make sure it takes the outright points and then beats Kenya in Nairobi next week if it wants to make it a hat-trick of Intercontinental Cup victories.
On a day when no fewer than 25 wickets fell, Ireland was first dismissed for just 69 with Louis Klazinga (4-11) and Gerrie Snyman (4-22) making the most of the conditions.
But then Namibia fared little better being reduced to 37-7 before the tail came to the home team’s rescue and made sure first-innings points were secured. Namibia was finally dismissed for 119 with Bjorn Koetze (28) and Tobias Verwey (20) ending up as top scorers.
Peter Connell was the pick of Ireland’s bowlers finishing with figures of 4-24 but trailing by 50 runs in such a low-scoring game is a big disadvantage and William Porterfield and his men knew they were up against it.
That reality was made even more stark when Ireland made a shaky start to its second innings losing opener Niall O’Brien without a run being scored and Alex Cusack not long after. Andre Botha and Porterfield put together a good partnership, bringing the side to 57-2 but three wickets were lost in quick succession and Ireland finished the day on 77-5, just 27 runs ahead.
Kola Burger (3-35) did the damage before the close as the home side established itself in pole position to take all 20 points on offer. Having taken the six points for its first-innings lead, Namibia is now certain of its place in what will be its first ICC Intercontinental Cup final.
Whether its opponent will be Ireland or Kenya in that decider remains to be seen but the way the defending champion is going about things, an all-Africa final looks like it could be on the cards unless a fierce rearguard action comes on day two.
ICC Intercontinental Cup
At: Windhoek (Day One)
IRELAND 69 all out (Louis Klazinga 4-11, Gerrie Snyman 4-22) and 77-5 (Andre Botha 29, William Porterfield 25; Kola Burger 3-35)
NAMIBIA 119 all out (Bjorn Kotze 28; Peter Connell 4-24, Boyd Rankin 2-33)
Ireland lead by 27 runs with five wickets remaining.
Remaining fixture: 11-14 Oct – Kenya v Ireland, Nairobi Gymkhana
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception four years ago and now the ICC’s premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members’ cricket schedule.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada in the 2006-07 event.
The final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 will take place in October/November 2008 at a venue yet to be confirmed.
For more information go to: www.icc-cricket.com