DUBAI (Reuters) – Minnows Namibia pulled off an upset in their final preliminary round match, stunning test playing nation Ireland to advance to the Super 12 stage of the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday.
Captain Gerhard Erasmus’ unbeaten half-century and David Wiese’s all-round brilliance secured Namibia’s memorable eight-wicket victory with nine balls to spare in Sharjah.
“I said in the press conference that we run a tight ship,” an emotional Erasmus said after the win.
“It’s a small country, and a small number of people play cricket. We should be proud of ourselves.”
Opting to bat, Ireland got a decent start from Paul Stirling (38) and Kevin O’Brien (25) but could not capitalise on it.
Even after the openers fell, they were cruising at 71-2 at the halfway mark of their innings with captain Andy Balbirnie in the middle.
Balbirnie could not accelerate though and was trapped lbw by Jan Frylinck (3-21) after making 21 off 28 balls.
None of the subsequent batsmen could reach double digits and they eventually settled for a below-par 125-8.
Namibia began well and by the time Curtis Campher removed the openers, the associate nation were on course for victory.
Erasmus led by example with an unbeaten 53, while man-of-the-match Wiese remained not out on 28, sealing the victory with his second boundary.
“We didn’t get enough runs,” a dejected Balbirnie said after they crashed out of the tournament.
“It will be hard to get over it, and it hurts a lot.”
Former champions Sri Lanka have already secured their Super 12 place from Group A.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Dubai; editing by Christian Radnedge)