Scotland suffered the first loss of their T20 World Cup warm-up programme after fellow-qualifiers Namibia claimed a five-wicket win in the DafaNews Summer T20 Bash at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai. Richie Berrington’s 46-ball 61 was ultimately in vain as a partnership of 93 between Stephan Baard and Craig Williams took the African side to victory with 14 balls to spare.
Josh Davey had given the Scots early hope by removing opener Zane Green in the first over of the chase, but Baard and Williams then took control of the situation with a fine display of batting. Both cleared the rope twice, Williams’ second six bringing up his fifty, and although he then fell next ball, caught by Davey off the bowling of Dylan Budge, the bulk of the runs had been scored. The bowlers still made Namibia work for it, Mark Watt taking 2 for 11 as the batting side suffered a late wobble, but with wickets still in hand, JJ Smit could seal the win with a four and a six in the eighteenth over.
The first innings had seen momentum shift first one way then the other. George Munsey showed his intent by taking three boundaries off the second over, but with the score on 21 in the fourth, Ruben Trumpelmann struck twice in successive balls to remove first Kyle Coetzer then Matthew Cross. The hat-trick ball was safely negotiated, but the departure of Munsey in the fifth, bowled by Smit with no further addition to the total, left Scotland in trouble and Namibia scenting blood.
Berrington showed all his class in another fine knock, rebuilding the innings with Craig Wallace before pushing on through the final ten, but after the loss of the latter in the twelfth, caught at short third man for a 26-ball 23, regular wickets kept Scotland’s counter-attack in check. A last-over cameo from Davey took the total to 137 for 8, but it wasn’t quite enough in the end.
“It was not the result we were after, [but it was] nonetheless a good run out in the field and a good test to put our batting line up under pressure,” said Kyle Coetzer. “We still put on a defendable total, Berrington being key to that again, but with good contributions from Wallace and a few others throughout to show the depth that we have in our line-up.
“Where Namibia probably won the game was the power that they came out with with the bat, especially in the first six overs. That really put us on the back foot and didn’t give us too many options after that. We did drag it back, but realistically we didn’t have enough runs on the board then after their powerful start.
“[So there are] lessons to be learned today,” he added. “It’s not always a bad thing losing a game: it keeps us on our toes, the guys are playing well and I fully expect them to bounce back when the World Cup period starts.”
“Obviously it was a below par performance in terms of the standards and expectations that we’ve set, but we’ve taken a lot of learnings from today,” agreed Shane Burger. “It’s always tough to go back to back, especially when you’ve played an afternoon game and then have a morning game the next day in these extreme conditions. But that’s absolutely no excuse, we need to make sure that we are able to manage that which is something that we have done pretty well over the last month.
“I thought Richie Berrington was excellent with the bat, really anchored the innings in a tough position and showed his class, then from a bowling point of view Mark Watt once again was fantastic with the ball. They’re a dangerous team, we always knew that and we knew we’d have to bring one of our better games, which we just didn’t do. Credit to them, we’ll take a lot of learnings from this and it will keep us on our toes for the upcoming games.”