Namibia strive for series win in fifth T20I


Locked at 2-2 with the teams alternating victories, the Eagles have been no shrinking violets in the series and will fancy their chances even away from home.

Continuing their gear-up to Australia 2022, and with ranking points for ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 qualification on the line, Namibia are starting to emulate the form of the 2021 tournament, where they progressed to the Super 12 stage off the back of fundamental, disciplined cricket.

Keeping calm in the midst of high-pressure situations in a similar vein to their World Cup performance against Ireland last year, skipper Gerhard Erasmus was once again out in the middle when Namibia claimed victory to level the Zimbabwe series, watching on from the non-striker’s end as Zane Green won the game from the final ball.

Erasmus is in the the thick of the action again, scoring 123 runs at 41 with a strike rate of 114 in the series, though the workload has been shared by the bulk of the squad, with a host of players in the group stepping up.

In spite of the absence of MRF Tyres ICC No.4 T20I all-rounder JJ Smit who returned home following the passing of his father, and injury to Stephen Baard, the likes of Michael van Lingen, Divan la Cock and Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton have made bigger contributions with the bat, alongside an industrial performance from the bowling group.

Before the series, Erasmus emphasised the need to round the depth of talent through experience against Full Member opposition.

“(We're) continuously looking to broaden the depth in the squad. Is it an easy job in Namibia? No. A very small country, very small population, so that just means that there are fewer cricketers. I guess we do kind of overperform and box above our weight at times," he said.

“We have got the likes of Divan la Cock who has just come into the national team setup. So that's a big plus for us. Great potential to be a player for us over the next three to ten years if it goes well.

“You need the development coming through."

Gerhard Erasmus smacks four sixes in a row and follows it up with a four in the 13th over, bowled by Sidhant Singh.

Though perhaps the biggest positive for Namibia will be Erasmus himself seeing out the series unscathed.

Breaking bones in his hand on three separate occasions in the last seven months, it's been a frustrating stretch on a personal level for the national skipper, unable to properly prepare for key fixtures in the next year across both white-ball formats.

"I had to have a lot of resilience in the last couple of months and that mental strength to come back at the right pace, and in the right mental space. If you get down and feel a bit hopeless you can go to some dark places," Erasmus said.

"You've got a long way to come back either by training or having to get out on the park to get to the level again of cricket that you’re required to be at."

"It is quite a journey and it’s quite mentally telling."

Should Namibia win the fifth T20I, it will be their first series win against a Full Member across either limited overs format.

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