NAMIBIA’S woes in the toughest group at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup finally ended when they lost to Bangladesh by seven wickets with 78 balls remaining on Thursday.
Namibia’s Under-19s won the toss and elected to bat first, however, that was as far as their luck would run as they only managed to post a paltry 151 runs before the Asian nation bowled them out.
Captain Steven Baard, who had previously underperformed, led the batting on 40 runs with supporting acts from all-rounder Zhivago Groenewald (19) and the opening pair which made a 39-run partnership.
Naeem Islam succeeded in breaking Wian van Vuuren (20) and Pelham Myburgh’s (19) opening stand as his bowling seemed to baffle the pair, who both fell to wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan’s stumping.
This broke a valuable partnership, which had laid a semblance of a foundation for Namibia, and afterward Namibia barely recovered as it struggled to score any runs off Bangladesh’s bowling and in the 50th over, they were all out.
Taskin Ahmed (2 for 29), Abu Jayed (3 for 29) and Naeem Islam (2 for 19) were the cream of Bangladesh’s bowlers as they constrained the underdogs to a humble total.
Unfortunately, the score did not quail the Test nation, which managed to slam runs in double-quick time, using only 37 overs before thrashing Namibia and leaving the African minnows at the bottom of Group D.
Bangladesh cruised to 155 runs for only the loss of three wickets. Bredell Wessells (1 for 26) and Jason Davidson’s (1 for 19) bowling was in vain; as Namibia’s bowling unit could only claim three scalps.
Bangladesh’s Liton Das reached a comfy half-century, thrashing 70 runs including 5 fours and captain Anamul Haque also featured as he remained unbeaten on 32 runs.
Bangladesh will now proceed to the Super League stage while Namibia will have to make do and fight in the Plate Tournament for their pride and to earn a respectable position in the Under-19 rankings which will rely on the outcome of the Plate Tournament.
Earlier Baard had admitted his side was in a difficult group. “We are in a very difficult group but that always encourages the players to improve on their performances against some of the top teams in the world.
“Going in as the underdogs, our expectation is always to upset the Test nations and measure ourselves against the best,” he said.
Baard said the event was an important one for Namibia.
“The ICC U19 CWC is hugely important for Cricket Namibia and for the development of cricket in Namibia. We have a population of 2.3 million people and have a limited pool of cricketers to select from.
“By playing in tournaments like the ICC U19 CWC and excelling here will hopefully encourage more young promising cricketers to play the game and improve the level of cricket throughout the country.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Anamul Haque who has played in 19 first-class matches led Bangladesh.
Middle-order batsman Soumya Sarkar and Haque were members of the side that finished ninth in New Zealand two years ago.
Before the tournament as he previewed Group D, Haque said: “It is important for us to get a win, at least, out of the first two games and after that we will have four days before the match against Namibia.
“Given the shape of the group, [the match against Namibia] could turn out to be crucial in the race for reaching the knock out stage.”
“For us it is not just a question of reaching the knock-out stage. We are confident that if we play to our potential we will get there,” remarked Bangladesh captain Anamul, adding: “The challenge is to go one better every time the opportunity presents itself.
“Bangladesh probably had the best U19 team in 2006 when we had players like Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal and yet no Bangladesh team, including the class of 2006, has ever made it to the last four [of the Super League stage].
“So that’s a good target to have.”
Namibia is returning to the ICC U19 CWC after missing the 2010 tournament. Namibia is one of the six Associate and Affiliate Member sides that came through the qualifying tournament staged in Ireland last year.
Fast bowler Steve Baard who has played two first-class matches captains Namibia.
Other players to have played first-class cricket in the side are Wian van Vuuren, Zhivago Groenewald, Andre Engelbrecht, Chris Coombe, Gerhard Erasmus and Bredell Wessels.
Bangladesh beat Namibia by seven wickets, Brisbane, Australia.
Bangladesh 155 for 3 in 37 overs. (Das 70, Haque 32 not out; Davidson 1-19, Wessells 1-26)
Namibia 151 all out in 49.4 overs. (Baard 40, Van Vuuren (20); Jayed 3-29, Islam 2-19, Ahmed 2-29).
Meanwhile South African openers Quinton de Kock (126) and Chad Bowes (115) starred as they thumped Namibia by 209 runs in Brisbane on Tuesday during Day 4 of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
De Kock – who scored 95 in South Africa’s tournament opener against Bangladesh on Sunday – smashed 13 fours and 3 sixes in his superb innings.
Bowes also found the boundary with ease as the pair added 212 runs for the first wicket, with South Africa finishing on 359-6 from their 50 overs.
South Africa showed little mercy against their smaller African neighbours Namibia at Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane, winning by a massive 209 runs margin.
Gauteng left-handed opener Quinton de Kock slammed an excellent 126 runs (106 balls, 13 fours, 3 sixes) and captain Chad Bowes matched De Kock stroke by stroke while scoring 115 (115 balls, 11 fours).
The two batsmen put on 212 runs for the first wicket, which laid the foundation of South Africa’s 359 for six.
South Africa all-rounder Theunis de Bruyn later picked up four wickets for 20 with his off-spinners to dismiss the qualifiers for 150.
Bowes said they had set out to deliver a “clinical” performance on Tuesday against their near neighbours.