Ireland 288/6 (Tector 101, Rock 55, Grassi 51) beat Namibia 186 (Louwrens 62, Lottering 46; Little 3/33) by 102 runs.
Rarely can there have been a game that so succinctly dispelled the myth of momentum Ireland’s 13th-place playoff against Namibia.
There were several sudden, dramatic shifts in fortune, the ascendancy changing hands seemingly at random.
It was Ireland who claimed it at the end and at the beginning, plundering 80 without loss from the first 10 overs of their innings. Namibia were profligate in the extreme, especially their opening pair. Ben Shikongo’s second over cost 17 runs over 10 balls, while Gerhard Lottering was taken off after two overs having conceded 21. Most of the runs came from the bat of Jamie Grassi, who took just 38 balls over his half-century.
But when the PowerPlay ended, so seemingly did Ireland’s ability to find the middle of the bat, with Mauritius Ngupita striking twice in his only over, the first turning in and bowling Grassi, and the second lobbing back to him for a simple caught and bowled chance, Sam Murphy lasting just two balls.
By the end of the 22nd over Ireland were 123/4, and 43/4 in 12 overs since Grassi’s assault ended, Mark Donegan and Morgan Topping both having departed, and Namibia were on top.
But the game changed again as Neil Rock joined captain Harry Tector in the middle, both looking immediately comfortable. The pair added 106, 10 runs fewer than they did against West Indies, before Rock fell, bowled attempting a scoop.
Tector however marched on imperiously to his hundred, only falling in the last over when trying to go big. Perhaps it’s not his style; strike rotation was certainly the hallmark of this knock, the Irishman scoring at a strike rate of close to 90 despite only registering 10 boundaries.
It’s in contrast to Josh Little’s preferred method - the all-rounder can strike boundaries almost at will, finishing the innings with a glorious straight six. The late flourish propelled Ireland to 288 and put them ahead.
The game turned again when Namibia began their innings solidly, if not as volcanically as Ireland had, adding 58 for the first wicket. But just as Ireland had, they lost two wickets in a short space of time upon exiting the PowerPlay, leaving opener, captain, and century maker from their last game Lohan Louwrens to try and salvage the situation, and for a moment he looked like doing so, sweeping and lofting his way to 62 from 61 before trying to hit leg-spinner JJ Garth back to Christchurch, missing, and getting bowled.
The blow felt key, especially when two more fell soon after, the collapse reading 8/4. Nicol Loftie-Eaton and Gerhard Lottering added a brisk and punchy 45 as the game swung again, but there was so much to do, and when Loftie-Eaton was dismissed, failing to clear mid on, the frustrated smash from the dressing room told you that Namibia thought the game was done, and though they continued to scrap, they were eventually dismissed for 186.