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18 July 201523:14

Namibia beats PNG to go neck and neck

Both teams level on points at the top of Group A table heading into final round of matches on Sunday

Namibia beats PNG to go neck and neck - Cricket News

Stephen Baard was in splendid touch and his 54-ball 81 helped Namibia beat PNG by 49 runs and go to the top of Group A.

Namibia beat Papua New Guinea by 49 runs in Malahide on Saturday (July 18) to make for an enticing climax to Group A on Sunday. The result, which snapped PNG’s unbeaten streak, left Namibia at the top of the Group on net run-rate, with both teams level on points with seven each.

PNG faces the United States of America in its final group encounter on Sunday, even as Namibia takes on Hong Kong, with the team that finishes at the top of the table qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 2016.

On the day, Namibia was solid and there were fine individual performances with both bat and ball that highlighted a good team performance. PNG won the toss and opted to field, but found Stephan Baard to be in splendid touch, his 54-ball 81 in a 74-run stand with Sarel Burger taking the team to a healthy 181 for 5. In response, the PNG batsmen found Bernard Scholtz’s left-arm spin hard to handle – he returned 4 for 11 as PNG was bowled out for 132 in 19.2 overs.

Namibia started well, its openers, Baard and Gerrie Snyman, putting on a fairly quick 38. The stand was broken when Mahuru Dai had Snyman stumped for an 11-ball 19, but Raymond van Schoor walked in and sealed up one end as Baard attacked at the other.

They put on 55 for the second wicket, scoring at over eight runs an over, as the PNG bowlers searched for a way through. Willie Gavera, the right-arm paceman, had van Schoor attempting the pull, only to return a catch to the bowler and fall for a 24-ball 21. JP Kotze didn’t last long thereafter, and Namibia was reduced to 100 for 3.

It was then that Baard was joined by Burger, and the two turned on the heat. The runs were accumulated in seven severs, the scoring rate at well above 10 an over. It was a two-pronged attack, and by the time PNG broke the stand, when Baard holed out to John Reva, Namibia had 174 on the board. Burger fell soon after to Gavera, having scored a ballistic 20-ball 38, which included two fours and two sixes.

Faced with a big chase, PNG got off to a fiery start, with Tony Ura and Lega Siaka putting on 21 for the opening wicket in two overs. Siaka fell for an 8-ball 18, but Ura and Assad Vala put an important 52 for the second wicket to steady the innings. However, the stand was broken when Ura was run out for a 21-ball 34, and thereafter, PNG struggled to stitch together a decisive partnership.

Scholtz ran through the line up, dismissing Vala (19), Dai (11), Charles Amini (3) and Reva (0) in quick succession to take the sting out of the chase. Snyman then took out the tail, returning 3 for 18, as PNG was bowled out with four balls to spare.

To view the full scorecard, click here.