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David Wiese conjured up a 66-run knock to fashion Namibia's six-wicket win over the Netherlands in a crucial first round Group A game of the T20 World Cup.
Wiese's maiden international half-century changed the pace of the game in matter of minutes as runs flew thick and fast after he took charge at the crease and in the process added 93 runs with skipper Gerhard Erasmus (32) for the fourth wicket.
Chasing 165 to stay alive in the competition, debutant Namibia was stuttering at 52 for three after nine overs but Wiese single-handedly sank the Dutch side.
His onslaught on the spinners, especially the monstrous straight sixes, was a treat to watch as the Dutch bowlers were guilty of putting the balls in the slot for Wiese to clobber.
The victory kept Namibia in hunt for the Super-12 stage and they had to beat Ireland in its final game in the first round.
Namibia beats Ireland
Namibia sealed a historic win over Ireland to earn a Super 12 berth in the T20 World Cup 2021 in its maiden appearance at the showpiece event.
It took the African nation just 25 T20Is to achieve the incredible feat. Having made its T20I debut in 2019, Namibia made to the second round of the T20 WC with its 20th win in the format on Friday in Sharjah.
Placed in Group A alongside former champion Sri Lanka, Ireland and Netherlands, Namibia was undoubtedly the underdog. The side toppled the odds as it recovered from a hammering by the Lankans in its first match with a stunning upset over the Dutch.
In its biggest test on the big stage thus far, the Eagles began their final group game against Ireland with a sensational bowling display that restricted Balbirnie's men to 125 on a sluggish track. Gerhard Erasmus' men then comfortably breezed through the chase with a fitting ending set by the skipper's unbeaten half-century and senior star David Wiese's cameo.
First ICC World Cup since 2003!
After earning an ICC Associate membership in 1993, Namibia made its first appearance at the global stage in the 2003 ODI World Cup in South Africa, having finished runner-up in the Qualifier tournament in 2001.
In a woeful outing, Namibia lost all six of its group games before bowing out.
After a nearly 18-year wait, the southwestern African nation has charted a heartening return to the international cricket scene and will have plenty to rejoice as it joins Group 2 of the Super 12s. It will now rub shoulders with heavyweights India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and fellow qualifier Scotland in the Super 12.
The article first appeared in Sportstar on 22 October, 2021
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