Monday, March 27, 2006

Namibia Through After Windhoek Draw

Namibia have qualified for the League stage of the Intercontinental Cup after effectively batting Nepal out of any chance of a surprise victory in Windoek yesterday. Taking an already substantial lead of 129 into the second innings, Namibia used most of the fourth and last day as batting practice before finally declaring on 6-239. Nepal had 24 overs in which to hit 368 runs if they wanted to win, something that was never going to happen. Play closed with them on 3-70, still 298 runs adrift of Namibia's total. While I can see why Namibia opted to shut out the game rather than go for the outright victory, it is a shame to see them choose this option rather than go for the win. Had they declared with a lead of 250, Nepal were still going to struggle to get close after being bowled out for 143 in the first innings, and Namibia would have had a real chance to repeat the feat and win the match. After their first innings, it never looked in doubt that they would qualify, but the manner in which they did so would probably be welcomed by at least two of their future opponents in the Intercontinental Cup. They will now face the UAE, Ireland and Scotland in one side of the main draw, and you can be assured that neither the Irish or Scots would have let their opponents escape with a draw in similar circumstances.
Cricket Europe has the full scorecard.
Kenya and Holland are next to face off in the Intercontinental Cup, when the two teams meet at Nairobi Gymkhana on Wednesday and the league stage of the competition gets underway. The other teams in Kenya's pool are Canada and Bermuda. Only one team from each pool goes through to contest the finals, so Kenya will be looking to make the most of home ground advantage against the Dutch. With Holland's top order finally hitting form against Kenya 'A' yesterday, and their bowlers on song, Kenya are going to have to really lift their game if they want to turn the season around with a win. All the best to Steve and the boys - we look forward to seeing the make up of the squad.

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