Every hero needs a sidekick and after David Wiese once again bagged the player of the match award for Namibia, he highlighted the sterling work of his skipper Gerhard Erasmus.
Wiese smashed 66 not out to help Namibia beat the Netherlands last time out and record their first World Cup victory and once again the 36-year-old fired his country to glory in a straight shoot-out against Ireland to make the Super 12 stage.
The former South Africa star, enjoying a second stab at international cricket, took two for 22 with the ball to help restrict Ireland to 125 for eight from their 20 overs before blitzing 28 off just 14 balls in a successful run chase.
But it was the partnership of 53 with captain Erasmus, who struck a vital unbeaten half-century at No.3 with 53 off 49 balls to anchor the chase, that sealed a historic win for outsiders Namibia who finished second behind Sri Lanka in Group A to seal a spot in the Super 12.
Fresh from hitting the winning runs which sparked jubilant scenes, Wiese said: “It’s completely overwhelming.
“I don’t think I deserve to be sitting here. I think the captain Gerhard Erasmus deserves to be player of the match.
“This is really his moment, and the rest of the team has put in so much work before now to be here.”
Erasmus, 26, delivered a true captain’s knock which steered his nation to an unprecedented result which ensures they have automatically qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
With 32 off 22 against Netherlands, Erasmus was the perfect foil for Wiese’s explosive innings, but this time it was the leader’s turn to top score when it mattered most, arriving to the crease with Namibia making slow progress at 25 for one in the last over of the powerplay.
Confident enough to see himself in and lucky that Ireland did not review an lbw shout that would have been overturned when he was on only two, Erasmus played the most important innings of his life.
It was a knock which left him on the verge of tears at its conclusion, with his visibly proud father Francois watching on and applauding in the stands at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE.
In life they say you have to take the rough with the smooth and Erasmus will treasure the elation of the eight-wicket victory over Ireland having lost out to the same opponents at the Qualifier two years ago.
On that occasion he also made a 50 but this time it was not in vain and the lofted cover drive that took him to the milestone will live long in the memory.
Namibia will now join the group that includes India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Scotland and Afghanistan and Erasmus admitted after the game that the scale of what they had achieved was yet to sink in.
He said: “I said in the press conference that we run a tight ship. Small country, small number of people play cricket. We should be proud of ourselves.
“I count on my senior men to stand up when the pressure is on. And two of us did it tonight.
“Hopefully, we can do it through the tournament. It hasn’t sunk in yet, maybe on the way home.”
Article courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.
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