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Namibia coach says his team must believe

Self-belief and mental toughness are what will bring the ICC Intercontinental Cup to Windhoek, according to Namibia national coach Johan Rudolph.

Namibia coach says his team must believe - Cricket News

Johan Rudolph tells his players they belong in top division of Associates

Ireland’s Phil Simmons declares: “The cup is ours and we’re not letting go”

Self-belief and mental toughness are what will bring the ICC Intercontinental Cup to Windhoek, according to Namibia national coach Johan Rudolph.

Speaking on Wednesday, the day before the final gets underway at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, Rudolph said his players had the necessary ammunition to overcome the more fancied Ireland over the five days of the match.

“I honestly believe it’s a 99.9 per cent mental thing now at this stage,” said Rudolph ahead of his side’s final training session before its first ever appearance in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

“You can only coach up to a point and the key thing for me is that the guys need to buy into what we are trying to achieve… How much do they want it? They need to believe they can beat Ireland. I really believe we are at that level, we are definitely not a Division 2 side and we belong in the same league as Ireland,” he said.

“It was good to see Louis Klasinga, Kola Burger and Gerrie Snyman get selected for the team of the tournament. It demonstrates the quality we have. Those guys have been great for us this year. But we do not just rely on them. Sorel Burger has been a rock for us – he is our banker – and the whole team is contributing.

“Ireland have a really professional set-up and we still need to get there. As far as the threat they pose to us in this match, they have a couple of good bowlers. I don’t really know what this pitch is going to do at St George’s Park but Boyd Rankin bowled brilliantly against us in the second innings in Windhoek a few weeks ago. He got a lot of bounce.

“But we have prepared well for this match and I am looking forward to the contest. We’ll see how it goes,” added Rudolph.

Ireland’s recent tour to Kenya was badly hit by the weather. Although it managed to get its crucial ICC Intercontinental Cup match played thus finally booking its place in the final, the scheduled ODI tri-series with Kenya and Zimbabwe was ruined due to rain with just three out of seven games going ahead.

And today, just as coach Phil Simmons wanted to put his charges through their paces in final preparation, a fine rain and chilly wind spread through Port Elizabeth and across the ground restricting the sort of work he could do with them. It was more akin to Clontarf or Stormont than southern Africa.

“The weather hasn’t given us a good chance to prepare but we will do as much as we can do. Today is just about getting sharp and making sure we are in the frame of mind for tomorrow’s game,” said Simmons, who says he is confident his side can win the cup for the third time in a row.

“Namibia’s danger for us is in their bowling. That is definitely their strength. If we can bat as we did in Kenya I think we’ll have things covered. Our bowling attack is getting into things, hitting the right areas and our two spinners have bowled well so we just need to counter their bowling attack and we’ll be on our way.

“To win this tournament again would show that we are still the number ones among the Associates in four-day cricket. That’s what the guys want to show after this. We are defending this trophy. It’s ours and we don’t want to let it go. That was the main motivation in our last two games against Namibia and Kenya in getting to this final and so that will be the motivation here too.”

Ian Howell from the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires will stand in the match alongside Paul Baldwin from the ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires’ Panel. The match referee will be David Jukes and play gets underway at 1030 (local time, 0830 GMT).

Squads:

Namibia: Louis Burger (captain), JB Burger, Kola Burger, Sorel Burger, Louis Klazinga, Bjorn Kotze, Deon Kotze, Nicolaas Scholtz, Wilbur Slabber, Gerrie Snyman, Tobias Verwey, Louis van der Westhuizen, Craig Williams.

Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Andre Botha, Peter Connell, Alex Cusack, Phil Eaglestone, Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Regan West, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.

Match officials: The match will be overseen by referee David Jukes while the on-field umpires are Ian Howell (Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires) and Paul Baldwin (ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires’ Panel). The third umpire is Clive Joubert.

Hours of play:
First session – 1030-1230
Second session – 1315-1510
Third session – 1530-1730

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 ICC website will carry live scores from the match as well as photographs, audio commentary highlights, audio interviews and daily reports. To listen to the full preview interviews with Johan Rudolph and Phil Simmons, go to: www.icc-cricket.com. All these are free to use for editorial purposes.

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