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Namibia on the verge of breaking through

Namibia can take a decisive step towards its first ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 final this week if it beats Bermuda in Hamilton

Namibia on the verge of breaking through - Cricket News
"Winning this tournament would be huge for us" says coach Rudolph

Namibia can take a decisive step towards its first ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 final this week if it beats bottom-of-the-table Bermuda in Hamilton.

Louis Burger leads a strong Namibian side that is not short on confidence having already amassed five wins out of five in the competition so far. Some teams have found it difficult to bring a first-choice squad on the road in this competition but Namibia's selectors had a full complement to choose from, brimming with potential match winners.

Apart from a quartet of Burgers (Louis, Sarel, JB and Kola) the Africans boast Gerrie Snyman (who scored 230 out of a total of 282 to set up victory against Kenya in January), as well as Louis Klazinga and Bjorn Kotze, who have also performed well in the tournament so far.

Also included in the squad is 18-year-old Bernard Scholtz, a slow left-armer who impressed during this year's ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia.

Scholtz, whose 21-year-old brother Nicolaas is also in the squad, could well make his debut for the senior team at the National Stadium in Bermuda starting on Wednesday.

"Bernard was one of the top bowlers in Malaysia last February and I have been impressed with him," said coach Rudolph from the team camp in Bermuda.

"He is still in school and very young but we thought he would benefit from being here. Whether he makes the final eleven for the match will depend on pitch conditions and how he goes in the nets but he is certainly one to watch for the future," he said.

An outright win for Namibia would almost guarantee it a spot in November's final although mathematically there would still be a chance that both Kenya and Ireland could overtake it before then. Rudolph is keen to keep the confidence in his camp high and getting the maximum 20 points in Hamilton will certainly do that.

"We are well prepared for this. Everyone is fit and ready to go and I am very happy with our preparations. To get to the final or win this tournament would be huge for Namibian cricket. It would mean a hell of a lot to us and our sponsors. We are competing as a (ICC World Cricket League) Division 2 side against Division 1 teams in this competition and we are competing well. If we win it, it will be great for the sport in our country.

"Beating Bermuda will not guarantee us a place in the final so if we want to be the best we will have to beat the best and that is why we will not fear Ireland when we play them in October. Ireland have some really good players and that will be a really big game for us. But first we must beat Bermuda.

"Our strength probably lies in our seam attack. We are able to put sides under pressure with our consistency and pace. Then we have a few individual batsmen capable of scoring big runs. Altogether I am very happy with how we are developing," said Rudolph.

It looks like this edition of the ICC Intercontinental Cup is heading for a thrilling conclusion with three sides battling it out for a place in the final. Defending champion Ireland will head to Namibia and Kenya next month knowing that two wins will be enough for a place in what would be its third consecutive final and will give it the chance of securing an unprecedented hat-trick of victories.

Kenya was beaten by Ireland in the 2005 final of this event and has not yet won it so Steve Tikolo and company will be out for revenge when the sides go head to head in Nairobi from 11 to 14 October.

For Bermuda, the only thing left to play for in this year's ICC Intercontinental Cup is pride and a place off the bottom of the table. A win for Irving Romaine's men would lift it two places, ahead of the United Arab Emirates and the 2006-07 finalist Canada, who are locked in joint-seventh position on 29 points.

There is quite a youthful look to this Bermuda squad with plenty of up-and-coming players getting the chance to show what they can do. Vice-captain Rodney Trott turns just 21 next Monday while there are also places in the squad for Chris Douglas (18), Oronde Bascome (20), Kyle Hodsoll (19), Tamauri Tucker (19) and Stefan Kelly (20).

With the older heads of Dwayne Leverock, Lionel Cann, Romaine and Ryan Steede still knocking around, Bermuda won't be short on experience either. And in front of its passionate supporters, the home side will be anxious to put on a good show.

Umpires: Karran Bayney and Roger Dill from the ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires' Panel.

Squads


Namibia (from): Louis Burger (captain), Raymond van Schoor, JB Burger, Sarel Burger, Gerrie Snyman, Deon Kotze, Bjorn Kotze, Tobie Verwey, Craig Williams, Kola Burger, Nicolaas Scholtz, Bernard Scholtz, LP van der Westhuizen, Louis Klazinga.

Bermuda (from): Irving Romaine (captain), Rodney Trott, Jekon Edness, Lionel Cann, Dwayne Leverock, Stephen Outerbridge, Ryan Steede, Christopher Douglas, Deloyne Borden, Oronde Bascome, Tamauri Tucker, Stefan Kelly, George O'Brien, Kyle Hodsoll.



Remaining matches:

The dates of the two remaining group fixtures in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 have recently been revised. The Namibia v Ireland match in Windhoek has been moved forward two days from its previously scheduled start date and will now take place from 3 to 6 October. Also, the game between Kenya and Ireland in Nairobi will now start on 11 October and not 12 October as previously advertised.


3-6 October - Namibia v Ireland, Wanderers, Windhoek

11-14 October - Kenya v Ireland, Nairobi Gymkhana

Final - TBC


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 November 2008 at a venue yet to be confirmed.

For more information, including coverage of this match, go to: www.icc-cricket.com

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