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Smit: Namibia have the belief to spring a surprise

JJ Smit of Namibia plays a shot as Matthew Cross of Scotland looks on during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between Scotland and Namibia at Sheikh Zayed stadium on October 27, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Namibia have the self-belief to stun their Group 2 rivals and qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, according to key batter JJ Smit.

Namibia have the self-belief to stun their Group 2 rivals and qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, according to key batter JJ Smit.

Smit’s unbeaten 32 from 23 balls saw his side home in their Super 12s opener against Scotland, with the 25-year-old blasting the winning runs from the first ball of the final over.

For all Smit’s heroics with the bat, he was understandably keen to hand the plaudits to Player of the Match Ruben Trumpelmann following his remarkable opening over which reduced Scotland to two for three.

And with a win under their belts, the batter is confident there will be plenty more to come from his side in the coming weeks.

“If we qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup, there will be massive uproar in the cricket world,” he said.

“We know we can, it’s possible, we are in the Super 12s and we are all enjoying it. We all believe.

“That was something special from Ruben to take three wickets in the first over. We had them on the back foot from the start – we can’t ask for more and we’ll enjoy that.

“We are so thankful for all the support in the stands and back home. It means the world to us and my phone doesn’t stop with messages – I don’t want to be in Ruben’s shoes tonight!”

Afghanistan are next up for the jubilant Eagles on Sunday and having witnessed their fine bowling display against Scotland, which saw spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman share nine wickets between them, Smit is braced for a tough test.

“For the next game, it’s about playing their spin well – and their seamers,” he said. “We shouldn’t just focus on their spinners.

“They have three of the best spinners in the world but their seamers are always highly ranked and come with a bit of pace.”

Scotland have a week to reflect on their second consecutive Group 2 defeat and stand-in skipper Richie Berrington rued the start which left his side with a mountain to climb.

Michael Leask’s defiant 44 helped give Berrington’s men something to bowl at and disciplined bowling took the chase into the final over but a lack of runs ultimately proved costly.

“They bowled extremely well up front,” he said.

“To have a first over like that makes it pretty hard to recover. We showed a lot of fight through the middle overs but couldn’t get enough runs to give us a chance in the second innings.

“One of the strengths of this team is the character and fight we show and we did that in the second innings.

“The bowlers bowled really well and put them under pressure in the middle period, we just didn’t have quite enough to play with.

“It’s not every day you get to be at a World Cup so we have to keep enjoying it. We have some exciting fixtures coming up, we just need to keep looking to improve and keep believing.”

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