Botswana produced one of their finest cricketing displays as they stunned favourites, Namibia by three wickets in thrill-a-minute match of the World T20 Africa C qualifiers at the BCA Oval on Saturday.
The hosts had not beaten Namibia in the last eight years, but a stunning display of disciplined bowling, saw the scales tipped as Botswana finished the qualifiers unbeaten.
Before a vociferous crowd, Namibia won the toss and decided to bat, and the visitors never got going in overcast conditions.
Runs proved hard to come by as Botswana constantly nicked wickets to restrict the free scoring Namibians to less than a run a ball, 116 for nine. This was down to some inspired bowling from the match’s oldest player, James Moses who took 2 for 19 and he was ably supported by speedster, Thatayaone Tshose who finished with figures of 3/33.
Namibia’s batsmen were restricted despite some starts, which were not converted, with danger man, Lo-handre Louwrens top scoring with 36. He was out, caught by Tshose off the bowling of Nabil Master. It sparked a regular fall of wickets, as Namibia tried in vain to break the shackles.
Chasing what appeared a modest 117, Botswana stuttered at the beginning, losing two quick wickets, slumping to 2-20 after three overs. But Vino Balakrishnan calmed the nerves when he stroked three successive fours in the fourth over, to wrestle the game back in Botswana’s favour. Reginald Nehonde played a mature innings, with 30 runs from 36 balls, as Botswana remained on course.
At 64 for five, Namibia felt they were still in the game but Moses’ 20 from just 13 balls, snuffed any lingering hope.
There were nervous moments as a further two wickets fell, but Adithya Rangaswamy and Inzamamul Master stuck together to
“I am so excited, the boys made this country proud. They have made our cricket being known in Africa and throughout the world. It shows that with exposure, we can match other countries. “The key was restricting the Namibians to under a run a ball. After this performance, we can go all the way. The spirits are high. What we need is exposure,” Angara said.
Man-of-the-match, Moses said it was a good victory after going close against Namibia in the past eight years.
“We won it from a team point of view. The crowd was good. The strategy was the same, and we made Botswana proud,” he said.
Regarding how long he will keep on playing, Moses said he will play as long as possible, but will have a conversation with the coach and his family.Both Botswana and Namibia are through to the Africa finals, which will be held in Uganda next year, where they meet Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
Namibia 116/9 (Louwrens 36, Loftie-Eaton 21; Tshose 3/33, Moses 2/19)
Botswana 117/7 (Nehonde 30, Moses 20; Frylinck 2/11, Coombe 2/27)
P W L
Botswana 6 6 0
Namibia 6 5 1
St Helena 6 3 3
Mozambique 6 3 3
Malawi 6 2 4
Lesotho 6 1 5
Swaziland 6 1 5