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Bowlers give Ireland advantage on opening day

JP Kotze fights with gritty 78 as Namibia finishes day one on 250 for 9

Bowlers give Ireland advantage on opening day - Cricket News
Craig Young took 1 for 63 on the opening day in Windhoek.
Ireland made a strong start to its ICC Intercontinental Cup tie against Namibia, picking up as many as nine wickets on Saturday (October 24), the opening day. After electing to bat at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek, Namibia was kept to 250 for 9 in 96 overs. JP Kotze, the left-hand batsman, top-scored with 78. 

Stephen Baard, the Namibia captain, was the first to fall when he was trapped leg before wicket by Tim Murtagh, the new-ball bowler. Baard had made 21 in an opening stand worth 29 with Xander Pitchers. 

Ireland struck quickly twice after that, getting the middle-order duo of Raymond van Schoor and Pikky ya France cheaply to leave Namibia 45 for 3. Pitchers and Kotze shared a 29-run stand, but Pitchers fell when set, trapped in front by Kevin O’Brien for 31. When Sarel Burger became Murtagh’s second victim soon after, Namibia found itself on 82 for 5 in the 31st over.

However, Kotze held firm, even as wickets fell regularly at the other end. The recovery process began through a sixth-wicket partnership worth 54 between Kotze and Gerrie Snyman. The duo kept Ireland's bowlers at bay for 16.1 overs. But John Mooney, the right-arm medium pacer, ended the stand when he had Snyman caught for 22. 

Zane Green, the wicketkeeper-batsman, then joined Kotze and continued the good work. Kotze added 52 more for the seventh wicket off 112 balls before Paul Stirling trapped him in front. Kotze had kept vigil for 152 balls and struck 11 boundaries. 

JJ Smith hung around for 34 balls, but could only make 6 before he was castled by Dockrell. Green fell soon after, also bowled by the same bowler. Green had displayed enormous patience, eating up 107 balls for his 28. 

When Green fell, Namibia was nine down and only 81 overs had been bowled, which left Ireland with enough time to wrap up the Namibia innings inside the first day itself. 

But Namibia's last-wicket pair of Bernard Scholtz, the left-arm spinner, and Christopher Coombe, the right-arm pacer, showed grit to hang in for 15.5 overs. The duo's unbroken last-wicket stand has so far yielded 48 runs for Namibia. While Scoltz had used up 52 balls for his 16 not out when stumps were drawn, Coombe had also faced the same number of deliveries for his unbeaten 34. 

Ireland's bowlers hunted in a pack. As many as six of them were used and they were all among the wickets. Murtgah, Mooney and Dockrell, the left-arm spinner, picked up two wickets each, while Craig Young, the right-arm pacer, Kevin O'Brien and Stirling, the allrounders, picked up a wicket apiece.

Namibia had won its opening encounter against Hong Kong by 114 runs, while Ireland opened its campaign with an innings and 26-run win over United Arab Emirates.  

To view the scorecard, please click here.

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