Takeaways from Namibia’s series win over Oman

Gerhard Erasmus in action. File photo

Ironing out the creases ahead of their respective T20 World Cup 2024 campaigns, Namibia and Oman played out a five-match T20I series, with captain Gerhard Erasmus’ men claiming an away 3-2 series win at Al Amerat.

The Eagles won the deciding fifth T20I by 62 runs, defending their imposing 212/3 in Al Amerat in a series where runs had been hard to come by in the prior four matches.

Once again the Namibian skipper stood up for his country, swatting 64* from just 29 balls and claiming a pair of wickets in the outing to help his side to series honours.

With both teams showing positive signs ahead of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, here are key points from the preparation bilateral series.


The ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for 2022 once described his part-time off-breaks as “filthy”, though numbers in the last 12 months suggest that not only will his output with the ball be more important at the upcoming T20 World Cup, it also is more consistent.

In the last year Erasmus has taken 24 T20I wickets in his 15 bowling efforts, at an economy of just 4.73. In a dozen of those matches, Erasmus has taken on either other T20 World Cup teams (Uganda and Oman) or Zimbabwe, highlighting a consistency in spite of strong oppositions.

The improvement has levelled Erasmus into a genuine three-dimensional cricketer, and compliments the spin work of Bernard Scholtz among others who spin the ball the opposite way.


Culminating in the crowning moments of T20 World Cup qualification in 2016 and 2021, the last decade has capped off the work of Oman’s modern cricketing forefathers. In saying that, many of the same names in that period who have featured on scorecards and Player of the Match certificates in successful outings have either passed or are approaching 40 years of age.

Father time gives Oman no option but to find new heroes, even if this upcoming T20 World Cup is a last hurrah of sorts. At 26, Pratik Athavale is one player to show glimpses of what could be next, hitting a 26-ball 38 in one outing, and 28-year-old Kashyap Prajapati making multiple starts as he moves into a new chapter of his international career.

On the bowling side, Samay Shrivastava has taken eight wickets in his first seven T20Is, though at 33 the leg-spinner too is no youngster himself.


Handing international caps to new faces looking to continue Namibia’s recent run in international cricket, the Eagles have used the African Games and the recent Oman series to round their player pool ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup.

With JJ Smit celebrating his honeymoon and other players left at home, the likes of Malan Kruger, Dylan Leicher and Simon Shikongo were all tested, as well as U19 World Cup breakout star Jack Brassell and captain Gerhard Janse van Rensburg.

Though perhaps the biggest positive comes through the runs of JP Kotze, whose 160 runs at a strike rate of 125 hints that the left-hander is back in the same form that saw him flourish in the late 2010s.

Seemingly able to concentrate on cricket on a full-time basis, the bludgeoning batting of Kotze is a boon for Namibia, who have lacked the power and aggression at the top of the order to exploit Powerplay overs in global tournaments


A rare bone tumour in Aqib Ilyas’ leg threatened to derail the batting all-rounder’s playing career and kept him out of international cricket for almost two years, though the 31-year-old looks close to his best again in Omani colours.

Ilyas’ 51 in just 29 balls in the final T20I gave the Omanis a shot of chasing down the 213 target, and his lowest score of 19 suggests the right-hander has not lost the ability to make a start to his innings.

As Oman lamented Aqib’s absence for the 2022 T20 World Cup qualifying campaign, his return should provide the team batting stability and allow others around him to up the ante, and will be an asset should he cash in when conditions suit.


While the 2024 T20 World Cup is top of mind for the Eagles, two defeats to an Omani side below them on the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings is a blow to automatic qualification for the 2026 tournament in India and Sri Lanka.

With teams reaching the Super Eights stage taking T20 World Cup 2026 spots, up to four automatic spots for the tournament in two years time will be filled by the next best on the rankings. It means that should Namibia not claim a top-two spot in their group at T20 World Cup 2024, they will almost certainly need to book their 2026 tickets via the Africa Regional Qualifier.

It may have been the same route that Namibia claimed their 2024 ticket, though it is worth noting that it came at the expense of Zimbabwe and other challengers in one of the more competitive regions of international cricket, and regional qualification will be no guarantee. – icc-cricket.com

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