No. 9 batsman hits 33 off 25 balls to inflict two-wicket defeat on Kenya
Namibia held its nerves to beat Kenya by two wickets in a Group B clash of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Friday (January 17). Captain Sarel Burger scored a patient 97-ball 45 and JJ Smit, the No. 9 batsman, hit a quick-fire 33 to help Namibia scale the 187-run target with seven balls to spare.
After being reduced to 26 for 2 in 9.1 overs, with openers Xander Pitchers (10) and Stephan Baard (15) out early – both caught off the bowling of Lameck Onyango by Morris Ouma – Burger and Craig Williams held the innings together till the 21st over before Hiren Varaiya removed the latter for 18.
Burger hit four fours in his innings as he stitched an important 49-run partnership with Nicolaas Scholtz for the fourth wicket, taking Namibia to 108 in 21 overs, before Steve Tikolo dismissed him for 30. Burger continued batting till the 43rd over till he was caught by Shem Ngoche off his own bowling, with Namibia tottering at 144 for 7.
Smit then came to his side’s rescue with a cameo, hitting four fours in his unbeaten 25-ball knock of 33, as Louis Klazinga (3) remained unbeaten to complete the win for Namibia.
Earlier, Smit was the pick of Namibia’s bowling attack, returning figures of 3 for 23 and helping restrict Kenya to 186 for 8 in 50 overs. Tikolo (47) and Rakep Patel (44) added 53 for the fourth wicket to consolidate the innings as medium pacers Cristi Viljoen, Smit and Klazinga kept troubling the batsmen with wickets at regular intervals.
Batting at No. 8, Varaiya scored 32 off 38 balls, to take Kenya to a respectable total after the top order failed Kenya yet again.
After two successive losses, Kenya will hope to get its act together in its next Group B tie against Uganda on Sunday, while Namibia will wait till Tuesday for its third match, also against Uganda, in Mount Maunganui.