Namibia 126 for two (Erasmus 53*, Wiese 28*, Campher 2-14) beat Ireland 125 for 8 (Stirling 38, O’Brien 25, Frylinck 3-21) by eight wickets
Batting first in a digital knockout, Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien laid the inspiration by including 62 in 7.2 overs however the incoming batters didn’t capitalise on that. Ireland had been 55 for 0 on the finish of the powerplay however may rating solely 70 within the subsequent 14 overs. Apart from their prime three, nobody else reached the double figures.
Given the sluggish nature of the Sharjah pitch, a goal of 126 wasn’t a simple one, particularly with Namibia taking part in a batter brief. They may handle solely 27 for 1 within the powerplay, and wanted 49 off 36 balls at one level. Wiese then smashed again-to-again sixes off Craig Young within the fifteenth over to deliver the asking fee down.
With 19 required off 17 balls, Erasmus, who had hit solely two fours in his first 44 balls, skipped down the observe to Simi Singh to launch him for a straight six. That all however sealed the sport for Namibia. When Wiese hit the profitable boundary, there have been nonetheless 9 balls left within the sport.
Stirling, O’Brien give Ireland brisk begin
It took Stirling and O’Brien a few overs to get used to the tempo and bounce of the pitch however as soon as they did that, boundaries got here continuously. Stirling was the extra aggressive of the 2 however he gained higher rewards when he centered on timing and placement than energy.
In the third over of the innings, he punched JJ Smit over lengthy-on for a six earlier than hitting three fours off left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz within the subsequent over.
Scholtz finally ended the opening stand when Stirling holed out to lengthy-on for a 24-ball 38. In the following over, O’Brien (25 off 24) picked out deep sq. leg off Frylinck to depart the aspect 67 for two.
The Sharjah slowdown
As was the case throughout IPL 2021, scoring runs turned troublesome as soon as the ball softened and the sphere unfold out. The first six overs of Ireland’s innings featured seven fours and a six; the following six had only one 4.
Andy Balbirnie struggled for timing on a slowing observe. He was on 5 when Aleem Dar denied an lbw attraction off Pikky Ya France. Namibia selected to not overview it however replays confirmed Balbirnie was fortunate to outlive.
The reprieve, nevertheless, did not damage Namibia a lot. Their seamers stored peppering the nice size within the line of the stumps and stored the Ireland batters quiet.
Wiese put Gareth Delany out of his distress by castling him with a slower ball within the fifteenth over. Two overs later, Frylinck dismissed Balbirnie and Curtis Campher to jolt Ireland additional because the innings petered out.
Ireland win the powerplay battle
In IPL 2021, 9 out of ten video games in Sharjah had been received by the group that scored extra runs within the powerplay. That ought to have been additional incentive for Namibia to go arduous within the first six overs. But even with the Ireland seamers lacking their traces and lengths every so often, Craig Williams and Zane Green didn’t make the most of the sphere restrictions.
When Campher began the sixth over, Namibia had been 25 for 0. The first ball of the over was proper within the slot for Williams, who tried to go over mid-on however could not get the specified elevation. O’Brien, proper on the fringe of the circle, timed his leap to perfection to carry on to an overhead catch. Namibia ended the powerplay with simply 27 on the board, 28 fewer than what Ireland had managed.
No luck for the Irish
It was all going in accordance with plan for Ireland. But a few incidents within the seventh over, bowled by Mark Adair, proved to be decisive ultimately. With his third ball, Adair pinged Erasmus on the pads however the lbw attraction was denied. Ireland selected to not overview it however replays confirmed Erasmus was out. The Namibia captain was on 2 at the moment.
After the ball, Adair appeared in discomfort with what appeared like a aspect pressure. He may bowl just one extra supply within the over earlier than strolling off the sphere. His absence would come to hang-out Ireland within the dying overs.
In the fifteenth over, with Erasmus on 32, Young breached his defence and the ball brushed the off stump on its approach to the wicketkeeper. But the bails did not come off.
Erasmus, Wiese take Namibia into Super 12s
Green and Erasmus stored chipping on the goal with ones and twos. In truth, Namibia did not rating a single boundary between overs 8 and 12. With the required fee crossing eight, Erasmus ended the drought with two fours off Josh Little within the thirteenth over.
In the following over, Campher and O’Brien mixed as soon as once more to ship Green again, and that introduced Wiese to the crease, with Namibia needing 53 off 40 balls.
While Erasmus held one finish, Wiese took the assault to the bowlers and turned the sport in Namibia’s favour. With Adair nonetheless off the sphere, Balbirnie had to make use of Simi within the 18th over, which produced 12 runs. With 9 wanted from 12 balls, Erasmus lofted Young over additional cowl to deliver up his half-century off 48 balls. Two balls later, Wiese wrapped up the sport.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo