Loftie-Eaton smashes new world record 

Nicol Loftie-Eaton celebrates his century against Nepal. Photo: Cricket Nepal

Nicol Loftie-Eaton set a new world record as Namibia beat Nepal by 20 runs in the first match of their T20 international tri-nations series in Kirtipur yesterday. 

The 22-year-old all-rounder smashed 101 runs off 36 balls to help Namibia to a 20-run victory against Nepal, and in the process broke the world record for the fastest 100 in T20 internationals, coming off only 33 balls.

Nepal’s Kushal Malla, who set the previous world record of 34 balls against Mongolia in September last year, was interestingly enough on the losing side yesterday, and had to watch Loftie-Eaton breaking his record as he smashed Nepal’s bowling attack to all corners of the field.

When Loftie-Eaton went to the crease Namibia were struggling at 62 for three wickets halfway through their innings, but he turned the match on its head with a brilliant innings. 

He smashed eight sixes and 11 fours, to help Namibia reach an imposing 206 for four wickets off their 20 overs. 

He also dominated a fourth-wicket partnership of 135 runs off only 56 balls with Malan Kruger, with the latter only contributing 37 runs. Kruger eventually remained not out on 59 which came off 48 balls (6×4, 2×6).

Michael van Lingen with 20 runs and JP Kotze with 11 were the other batters who reached double figures.

In Nepal’s innings, Namibian pace bowler Ruben Trumpelmann made an early breakthrough with two wickets to leave them struggling at 20/2, but Malla and captain Rohit Paudel launched a strong comeback. 

Loftie-Eaton got the breakthrough, dismissing Paudel for 42 which came off 24 balls (3×4, 3×6), and when Malla followed soon after, dismissed by Bernard Scholtz for 32 off 21 balls (4×4, 1×6), the match was still wide open with Nepal’s total at 91/4 halfway through their innings. 

Namibia’s bowlers, however, increased the pressure with regular wickets and although Dipendra Singh Airee gave Nepal hope with a powerful knock, they eventually fell 20 runs short of the target. 

Airee top-scored with 48 off 32 balls (2×4, 2×6), before the whole side was out for 186 runs off 18,5 overs. 

Trumpelmann was Namibia’s most successful bowler, taking four wickets for 29 runs, while Scholtz took 2/43, Loftie-Eaton 2/29 and Frylinck 2/36.

The victory gave Namibia a great start in the T20 tri-nations series which also features The Netherlands, with each nation due to play each other twice before the final on 5 March. 

Loftie-Eaton, who was naturally the player of the match, said he didn’t even realise that he had broken the world record. 

“It wasn’t intentional. I thought his (Malla’s) 100 was off 29 balls, but yes, it’s a special feeling breaking that record and having him there to witness it was also quite special,” he said. 

“It’s a special feeling and I’ll cherish this day for the rest of my life, but the hard work starts now, so going forward, this is the brand of cricket that I and our team want to introduce to the world,” he added. 

Loftie-Eaton had promised a lot after making his mark as a 17-year-old school boy in a junior cricket tournament in Windhoek in 2018. On that occasion he hit an incredible 1 084 runs in six innings’ at an average of 271, with individual innings scores of 183, 315, 170, 138, 169 and 109. 

By then he had already made his first class debut for Namibia against KwaZulu Natal, while he made his international T20 debut against Uganda in 2021, having just turned 20. 

He, however, hardly made an impression with the bat, with a top One Day International score of 73 against UAE and only 28 in T20 internationals, but yesterday he finally fulfilled his immense potential with a world record knock. 

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