With all at stake, a virtual knockout match between Ireland and Namibia will decide the final team to join the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
In a winner-takes-all duel, Namibia square up against Ireland on Friday in their last group game at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Namibia recorded their maiden men’s World Cup win on Wednesday when they beat Netherlands by six wickets in Abu Dhabi and on the virtue of that victory find themselves in a position to have another shot at history when they take on Ireland, who haven’t progressed past the preliminary round since 2012.
As opposed to Namibia, Ireland is coming into the all-important fixture after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, who became the first team to qualify for the Super 12 stage. Andy Balbirnie’s men will be seeking a quick turnaround against the high-flying Eagles knowing victory is enough to seal their spot in the next phase.
- Match: Ireland v Namibia
- Time: 14:00 local time on Friday 22 October
- Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Despite the 70-run defeat to Sri Lanka, Ireland is unlikely to shake up many parts of a team which looks well-balanced on paper. With this the first game of the tournament to be played at Sharjah, there may be a temptation to add to their spin-bowling options given the conditions. George Dockrell will definitely be a candidate on team management’s radar giving Ireland an all-round option. The leg-spin of Brian White might be in contention as well.
Possible Ireland XI: Paul Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Andy Balbirnie, Gareth Delany, Curtis Campher, Neil Rock, George Dockrell, Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Josh Little, Craig Young
High on confidence, Namibia will take inspiration from their comeback win against Netherlands. From 52/3 in the ninth over, they went on to chase down 164 with David Wiese the star of the day. As Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton didn’t have much to do with the bat or ball, the Eagles could potentially be looking to add Pikky Ya France into the line-up, whilst not many other changes are expected from the side that won the game in Abu Dhabi.
Possible Namibia XI: Stephan Baard, Zane Green, Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Michael van Lingen, Jan Frylinck, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton/Pikky Ya France, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
Left-arm searmer Josh Little unfurled two beautiful deliveries to clean bowl Dinesh Chandimal and the in-form Avishka Fernando to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 8/3 at one stage. He went on to take four wickets for the match, continuing a remarkable 2021 in which he has taken 12 wickets in nine games.
“Josh Little bowled to his plans and he has been a real find for us this year,” captain Balbirnie said after the game on Wednesday.
Little’s four-wicket haul against Sri Lanka will have done a world of good to his confidence and he will once again be the player to keep your eyes on.
Namibia’s hopes coming into T20 World Cup rested majorly on how David Wiese would perform. While he had an ordinary opener against Sri Lanka, the 36-year-old showcased his class against the Netherlands where he single-handedly changed the course of the tie, smashing five sixes and four fours in his unbeaten knock of 66 off 40 balls to propel his side to a memorable win. “It [win] means a lot to me,” Wiese reacted in the post-match ceremony. “A World Cup on the international stage is special and to put in a big performance for Namibia, I'm glad to get this opportunity to play international cricket.”
Expert Dream11 Fantasy tips
Captaincy Pick - Mark Adair
Ireland's right-arm pacer is in impressive form in the T20 World Cup, having scalped five wickets in the two matches he’s played. He should be the top pick for captain in their match against Namibia.
His phenomenal record in the format, with a bowling strike rate of 12.4 in 28 T20Is, bears evidence of how key a player he is for his country. Add to that his good record in UAE, where he has bagged 20 wickets in 12 T20Is, and he’s a no-brainer for captain.
Must-have - David Wiese
The South Africa-born all-rounder is a must-have in this match as he has proven to be a game-changer for Namibia. His match-winning 66* against Netherlands helped Nambia to their first-ever win in the T20 World Cup. He also has vast experience in the T20 format, having played 269 T20s across different leagues in the world.
The Ladder Situation
Unlike the complicated case in Group B, the equation in Group A is pretty straightforward. A win for either Namibia or Ireland is a direct ticket to the Super 12s. Sri Lanka’s far superior run rate means there is little chance of catching them at the top of the group.
Use the FTX Bracket Challenge to see what each result means to a team's tournament hopes
What They Said
Andy Balbirnie, Ireland captain: “We are excited. They are the games you want to play in when you grow up watching cricket and see the knock-out games. They are the ones we want to be part of, so we will rest up and be ready
David Wiese, Namibia’s star all-rounder: “We've got one more game left against Ireland. If we can pull off a win over there, we could find ourself in the next stage of the tournament, which would be absolutely amazing for Namibia cricket.”