NAMIBIA’s national cricket team has another chance of achieving more success when they compete in the ICC T20 World Cup Africa finals in Kampala, Uganda starting on Friday.
Namibia last month won the World Cricket League Division 2 tournament to gain One Day International (ODI) status for the first time since their participation at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
Now they have a chance of more success since the top two teams in Kampala will be just one step away from qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 which takes place in Australia in October next year.
Six nations will be in action in Kampala, namely the hosts Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The tournament will be held on a round robin basis with each nation playing each other once, while the top two teams on the log at the end of the tournament will progress to the final ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier to be held in the UAE from 11 October to 3 November this year.
Here they will join eight other nations, namely UAE, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, Oman, Scotland and Zimbabwe to battle it out for the final six places for next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
The UAE qualified automatically as hosts of the tournament, while PNG qualified after winning the East Asia Pacific final in March this year.
The other six nations missed out on direct qualification for the World Cup after finishing outside the top ten ICC T20 team rankings on the cut-off date of 31 December 2018.
The top six nations in UAE will then qualify for the 2020 T20 World Cup along with the top ten nations on the ICC T20 team rankings, namely Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
The Namibian team which was announced on Tuesday shows two changes from the one that recently won the World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Windhoek.
The Namibian squad has been trimmed to 14 players, with top order batsman Nikolaas Davin who is studying in South Africa, and United all-rounder Danie van Schoor coming in, while top-order batsmen JP Kotze, Craig Williams and Jean Bredenkamp were all unavailable for the tour.
The rest of the squad remains the same and displays a solid batting line-up and a lot of options amongst the bowlers.
Stephen Baard will open the batting, while several other players could come in contention for the other opening berth including Davin, Karl Birkenstock and Pikky Ya France.
The absence of Kotze, Williams and Bredenkamp will weaken the batting, but Namibia still has some strong batsmen to fill the middle and lower order including captain Gerhard Erasmus, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Christi Viljoen and JJ Smit, who won the player of the tournament award at the WCL Division 2 tournament last month.
The bowling attack is also well balanced and includes pace bowlers, Smit, Frylinck, Tangeni Lungameni and the young Jan Izak de Villers; seamers Viljoen and Birkenstock; and spin bowlers Van Schoor, Ya France, Zhivago Groenewald and Bernard Scholtz.
Pierre de Bruyn is the coach, Albie Morkel the assistant coach, and Dee Thakur the manager.
Namibia’s opening match is against Botswana on Sunday morning.