Cricket enjoys successful year
2011 was a very successful year for cricket in Namibia, both at senior as well as at junior level. The national senior team won the ICC Intercontinental Shield and was readmitted to the ICC Intercontinental Cup, while it is also in the running for a place at the 2012 T20 World Cup.
The national junior team, meanwhile qualified for the 2012 U19 World Cup where it will join the top cricketing nations of the world in Australia.
In December 2010 Namibia survived a determined comeback by the United Arab Emirates to win the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Shield competition by six wickets.
In an amazing match of fluctuating fortunes, Namibia got off to a brilliant start to dismiss UAE for 79 in their first innings. Namibia seemed set for a big first innings lead at 267/3, but UAE struck back on the second morning to dismiss Namibia for 320.
UAE staged a great fightback in their second innings to score 427 all out to set Namibia a winning target of 187. Led by captain Craig Williams, who scored his second century in the match, Namibia reached the winning total with six wickets in hand.
The result saw them finishing on top of the four-nation log, which also included Bermuda and Uganda.
World Cricket League Division 2
In April 2011, Namibia finished second out of six nations at the World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Dubai, after losing the final to the UAE. The result meant that Namibia was promoted to the ICC Intercontinental Cup competition, to join stronger opposition in WCL Division 1 nations like Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland, Kenya and the Netherlands.
In the WCL Division 2 final, Namibia’s batsmen struggled to make an impact against UAE’s tight bowling and reached a modest total of 200 all out off their 50 overs. Captain Craig Williams top scored with 58 off 64 balls, while Sarel Burger added 42 and Raymond van Schoor 39.
Despite losing the final, Namibia’s captain Craig Williams won the Player of the Tournament award after scoring 335 runs at an average of 67,00.
Africa T20 Qualifier
In July 2011, Namibia finished second behind Uganda at the ICC African Twenty20 competition in Uganda to qualify for the final Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers which will be held in Dubai in February 2012.
Despite losing the final, Namibia dominated the tournament, winning all eight their matches during the group stages in record style. With LP van der Westhuizen leading the way, they plundered some world record scores, although these records were subsequently not recognized by the ICC, since the tournament did not carry official international status.
The 23-year-old Van der Westhuizen was in irresistible form, scoring 406 runs in nine matches at an average of 50,75, with a top score of 159 not out and a strike rate of 203,00.
In September 2011 Namibia got off to a losing start in the Intercontinental Cup competition when Ireland beat them by five wickets in Belfast.
After dismissing Namibia for 226 in their second innings, Ireland comfortably reached the winning target of 176 for the loss of five wickets.
Namibia’s top batsmen were LP van der Westhuizen (65), Christi Viljoen (87) and Craig Williams (40), while their top bowler was Christi Viljoen (5/87).
Later in September, Namibia hosted Scotland in their second Intercontinental Cup match and battled it out to a draw.
Scotland held the upper hand throughout the four-day match and were pushing for victory on the final day, but Namibia managed to hold out for a draw, after Picky Ya France (63 not out) and Gerrie Snyman (88) led a great fightback.
Junior World Cup
In September 2010 the national Under 19 team won an African World Cup qualifying tournament when they won all seven their matches against other African nations. With this victory they qualified for the final World Cup qualifiers which took place in Ireland in August 2011.
Here Namibia won four and lost five matches, but they qualified for the 2012 World Cup by the narrowest of margins after beating Kenya by 108 runs in their final match.
The result meant that Namibia finished 6th out of the 10 competing teams, to grab the final spot for the 2012 Under 19 World Cup which takes place in Australia in August.
Namibia struggle in CSA competition
Namibia however struggled in the Cricket South Africa competition, finishing 10th out of 14 teams in the limited overs version of the game and last in the three-day competition.