World Cup 2027 campaign starts in Nepal 

The Richelieu Namibia Eagles begin their campaign in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 series in Kirtipur today with a tough encounter against the hosts, Nepal. 

The Netherlands will also be involved in the first tri-nations series of the competition which runs for three years before the final qualifiers for the 2027 Cricket World Cup will be determined. 

Eight teams will compete in the Cricket World Cup League 2 series, with the top three qualifying automatically for the final 2027 World Cup qualifier, while the bottom teams will be relegated, so there’s a lot at stake.

Despite being a co-host of the 2027 Cricket World Cup along with South Africa and Zimbabwe, Namibia will still have to qualify for the tournament, but a tough road lies ahead with several top-ranked associate member nations also battling it out. They consist of the Netherlands who qualified for the 2023 World Cup, Nepal, Scotland, the UAE, the USA, Oman and Canada.

South Africa and Zimbabwe, as ICC full members will qualify automatically for the 2027 World Cup, but Namibia will still have to qualify for the global spectacle, even though they are a co-host. 

“The hosts usually qualify automatically, but it will be the first time that three nations co-host the World Cup, and the final places are limited so we will still have to qualify,” Cricket Namibia CEO Johan Muller said yesterday.

“But it will be a shame if we host the world cup but fail to qualify for it. It will be a great event that will boost Namibian cricket on the international stage so its important that we qualify for it,” he added.

Muller said the competition will be extremely tough. 

“The Netherlands qualified for the World Cup last year, while Nepal are especially strong at home. In the previous League 2 tournament they won 11 of their last 12 matches at home and they have some top quality players coming through the ranks now,” he said. 

Nepal, in fact, pipped Namibia to the post in the previous tournament, when they claimed the third and final qualifying spot after beating UAE by nine runsin their final match, thereby relegating Namibia to fourth place. 

A Namibian 15-man squad was recently announced for the tri-series, which includes the bulk of players who qualified for the 2024 T20 World Cup in Windhoek last November. 

Gerhard Erasmus, who has developed into a top all-rounder, once again captains the team with another star allrounder JJ Smit serving as vice captain. Erasmus and Smit, in fact, feature amongst the world’s top T20 all-rounders, with Smit ranked 10th and Erasmus 11th according to the ICC’s latest rankings. They are also the top-ranked players from associate member nations, with Zeeshan Maqsood of Oman and Bas de Leede of the Netherlands following next in 17th and 19th places respectively. 

Top strike bowler Ruben Trumpelmann is also back after missing most of last season due to injury, but experienced all-rounder David Wiese is unavailable.

The squad also sees the inclusion of 18-year-old seam bowler Jack Brassel, who has been called up from the national u19 team that recently competed in the u19 World Cup in South Africa.

Amongst the top-order batters, Niko Davin, Michael van Lingen and Zane Green can all open the batting, while there is strong competition for the top to middle order batting spots with Erasmus, Jan Frylinck, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, JP Kotze, Shaun Fouche and Malan Kruger all in the mix. 

Smit and Trumpelmann strengthen the batting depth with their explosive batting further down the order, while they will also be key strike bowlers along with Frylinck. 

The other strike bowlers include Ben Shikongo and Tangeni Lungameni, while Bernard Scholtz will lead the spin bowling attack. 

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