Eagles on target for T20 World Cup spot

Niko Davin in action during his innings of 80 against Rwanda. Photo: Helge Schütz

The Richelieu Namibian Eagles have got off to a great start in the ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Windhoek, winning their opening three matches with ease and are well placed to qualify for next year’s world cup in the United States and the West Indies. 

Namibia and Kenya, who meet at the United field today, are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the competition and another win today will take Namibia a step closer to qualifying for their third T20 World Cup over the past three years.

On Saturday, Namibia cruised to a 68-run victory against Rwanda on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method after the match at the Wanderers field could not be completed due to rain.

Niko Davin continued his great batting form, hitting a sparkling 80 off 59 balls as Namibia piled up a massive 207 for three wickets, and then restricted Rwanda to 46 for five wickets after 10 overs before the rains came. 

Davin attacked Rwanda’s bowling from the start, dominating a 60-run opening partnership off seven overs with Michael van Lingen, before the latter was dismissed for 24. 

Gerhard Erasmus chipped in with a brisk 16 off 10 balls, but Davin was the main aggressor, hitting Rwanda’s bowling attack to all corners of the field in an 83-run third wicket partnership with Jan Frylinck.

Davin was eventually out for 80 off 59 balls, which included eight fours and two sixes, but the run fest continued as Frylinck scored 45 not out off 28 balls (1×4, 3×6), while JJ Smit smashed 30 runs off only 10 balls (3×4, 2×4) as Namibia cleared the 200-run mark.  

Rwanda never came close, as their innings imploded from the start. 

Bernard Scholtz dismissed Orchide Tuyisenge for a second ball duck, and when Hamza Khan (1) and Oscar Manishimwe (1) were dismissed in the same over they crashed to 15/3. Rwanda could not recover and when rain stopped play they were struggling at 46/5 to give Namibia a comprehensive win on the DLS method.

Namibia’s campaign got off to a great start when they beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets on 22 November. 

After struggling at 18/3, Zimbabwe did well to reach a total of 132/8, with JJ Smit taking 3/24 and Tangeni Lungameni 2/21.

With Davin once again in great form, the target was never a problem for Namibia as they reached 134/3 with more than five overs to spare. 

Davin smashed 89 off only 45 balls (10×4, 4×6), while Van Lingen added 30 off 20 (4×4, 1×6). 

Two days later Namibia followed that up with a six-wicket win against Uganda. 

With their international T20 star David Wiese leading the way with four wickets for 17 runs, while Erasmus (2/19) and Lungameni (2/16) each took two wickets, Uganda were all out for 114, which was never a problem for Namibia’s batting lineup. 

Davin and Van Lingen each scored 23 runs, while Frylinck (30) and Erasmus (35 not out) took them to a comfortable victory with three overs to spare. 

Namibia’s success so far has been based on a great team effort, with several players shining in the batting, bowling and fielding departments. 

Davin is currently the tournament’s top run scorer with 192 runs at an average of 64,00, while Van Lingen, Frylinck and Erasmus all feature amongst the top ten batters. Van Lingen is fifth with 77 runs at an average of 25,66; Frylinck is sixth with 76 runs at an average of 38,00; and Erasmus is 10th with 56 runs at an average of 56,00.

Collins Obuya of Kenya is second with 137 runs at an average of 45,66, while another Kenyan, Irfan Karim is third with 106 runs at an average of 53,00.

Namibia also have four bowlers within the top ten. Alpesh Ramjani of Uganda leads the way with six wickets, followed by Vraj Patel of Kenya on five, while Lungameni, Smit, Erasmus and Wiese have all taken four wickets each. 

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