Namibia pulled off a fine chase to record their first-ever victory in a men’s World Cup, beating the Netherlands by six wickets.
The T20 World Cup debutants were indebted to veteran allrounder David Wiese and captain Gerhard Erasmus, who forged a match-changing partnership after coming together at 52 for 3 in the ninth over, still requiring a further 115 runs to win.
They did it at a canter, though, putting together a 92-run stand in just 8.2 overs, at one stage plundering 30 runs in 12 balls and making a mockery of a Dutch innings that featured just three sixes. Wiese ended unbeaten on 66.
Earlier, the Netherlands had eased to 164 for 4 thanks primarily to Max O’Dowd, who opened the batting and was run out for 70 in the 20th over. Only 30 of his runs had come in boundaries, and taking on the fielders was a central feature of an innings played out in sweltering conditions.
He was supported by Colin Ackermann, who made 35 from 32 deliveries, coming to the crease after the dismissals of Stephan Myburgh – picked ahead of Ben Cooper – and Roelof van der Merwe, who had been promoted up the order to No.3 as the Dutch searched for an early impetus that was missing in their heavy defeat by Ireland on Monday.
In the end, they were indebted to a quality cameo from wicketkeeper Scott Edwards, who struck 21 off 11 balls, for a middling score that, for a time, they looked like defending.
Namibia’s top three of Stephan Baard, Zane Green and Craig Williams were all bowled – by Pieter Seelaar, Fred Klaassen and Ackermann – to leave Namibia 52 for 3 in the ninth over, at which point the game changed.
Wiese and Erasmus came together to swing the momentum: Ackermann’s off spin and the medium pace of Bas de Leede – whose selection came as a surprise – were dealt particular punishment, with Wiese – the former South Africa allrounder – smashing four straight sixes in a 29-ball half century that turned the game on its head and ultimately led his side to a famous win.