T20 series goes down to the wire

Gerhard Erasmus in action for Namibia. Photo: Helge Schütz

The Namibian Richelieu Eagles beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets in their fourth T20 international match yesterday, to draw level at two-all in their five-match series.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Zimbabwe were restricted to 153 for six wickets off their 20 overs, while Namibia reached 154/3 with eight balls to spare. 

Namibian captain Gerhard Erasmus played a starring role in all facets of play. In Zimbabwe’s innings he took 2/21 and two catches, and then led Namibia to the victory target, scoring 31 not out to win the player of the match award. 

In Zimbabwe’ innings, Tangeni Lungameni ran out Innocent Kaia for 15 with a great throw from the boundary, but Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and captain Craig Ervine stabilised the innings with a 43-run partnership. 

Erasmus, however, got the breakthrough, dismissing Kamunhukamwe for 32 which came off 32 balls (3×4, 2×6), and when he got the prized wicket of Sikandar Raza for only two runs two overs later, Zimbabwe were struggling at 66/3.

Ervine led Zimbabwe’s revival with a fine kock, but Namibia kept them under pressure as wickets continued to fall at the other end. 

Ervine was eventually not out on 54 which came off 43 balls (3×4, 1×6), while Ryan Burl added 13 and Faraz Akram 10 not out as they reached 153/6 off their 20 overs. 

For Namibia,Erasmus took 2/21, while Handre Klazinga took 2/35. 

In reply, Michael van Lingen and Niko Davin gave Namibia a great start with a 82-run partnership for the opening wicket off only 8,1 overs. 

Burl got the breakthrough when he bowled Van Lingen for 47, which came off 27 balls (6×4, 3×6), while Davin followed shortly after, when he was also bowled by Burl for 34 off 25 balls (3×4, 2×6). 

With the total at 85/2 the match was still wide open, but Erasmus and Jan Frylinck gradually put Namibiain charge with a 54-run third wicket partnership. When Frylinck was eventually bowled by Tendai Chatara for 29, which came off 26 balls (3×4), Namibia were well on course for victory, and Erasmus (31 not out) and JJ Smit (6 not out) took them to a comfortable victory with eight balls to spare. 

For Zimbabwe, Burl took two wickets for 22 runs and Chatara 1/29. 

The series is now level at two-all ahead of today’s final match at the United field, which starts at 14h00. 

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