Namibia beat UAE in two days
Centuries for Louis Burger and Tobias Verway led the second-day charge, building a massive lead of 332, then Louis Klazinga bagged five wickets as UAE were tumbled out in 38 overs.
However, the closing stages were enlivened by a brave assault from Kashif Khan, who slammed 10 fours and six sixes in a 67-ball 95. UAE’s plight was summed up by the fact that the next highest score was Arshad Ali’s 18.
Hosain Ayob, the ICC Development Manager for Africa who was in the country for the matches, praised Namibia for increasingly fielding more indigenous people.
“I have been running the development of the game in the continent for the last decade and I think Southern Africa, especially Namibia and Zambia, deserve a pat on the back for taking their cricket to the grass-roots,” he told the Southern Times.
He applauded Namibia’s decision to invest in young players who have a better vision of the game and are more ardent to play, “as compared to some of the old guy whom I blame for Namibia’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.”
UAE’s main ambition was to try and extend the match as long as possible, but even the third day proved out of reach once the Namibians burst through the top order leaving them 60 for 5.
Klazinga then built on his impressive first-innings figures of 3 for 12 by adding 5 for 20 second time around. He and Deon Kotze wrapped up the match, despite the thunderous hitting of Khan.
But whereas Khan’s heroics merely delayed the inevitable, Namibia’s impressive batting was in a greater cause. Burger started the day 14 short of a ton and didn’t take long to cross three figures and register his highest first-class score.
The surprise package was Verwey, batting at No. 9 in just his third first-class match, who hit 12 fours and four sixes in an outstanding 114. He enabled the last two wickets to add 122, crushing UAE’s resolve.
After such a display, Ayob advised Namibia to start inviting top players in the world of cricket to the schools and to cricket academies. He however expressed his disappointment in the lack of crowds at the match venue.
“The problem is that most countries like Namibia are not taking the game to the people. It’s not only here that I see a paltry crowd. Go anywhere in Southern Africa, its like that with the exception of South Africa.”
Ayob said cricket councils have plans like inviting a lot of children to know, watch and play cricket, for free.
“If my child plays, I will come and watch him or her play. Next day, they would want to watch an international match like this one and I will be forced to come with them,” he said.
Ayob is now arranging with the local cricket board, NCB, in organising a tournament with Lesotho’s Under 15.