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Eagles in prime spot – The Namibian

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THE Namibian Eagles are expected to wrap up their second series against Emerging Zimbabwe with a fifth consecutive win at the Wanders field today.

They wrapped up the T20 series 3-0 on Sunday and started the 50-over series with a comprehensive 122-run victory on Monday.

With only two more matches in store in the 50-over series – today and Sunday – Namibia is now primed to win that series as well.

The series has provided the players valuable game time ahead of the T20 World Cup in October, as well as the World Cricket League Division 2 50-over tournament that gets underway in November, and with places for both events still open, the competition for places is hotting up.

With coach Pierre de Bruyn fielding their more established players, Namibia dominated the T20 series, as evidenced by their record 132-run win last Sunday.

Batsmen like Zane Green who scored 81 not out and 44, JJ Smit (a brilliant 93 not out off 29 balls) and Craig Williams (77) put in some fine performances, while the pace bowlers Ruben Trumpelmann, Jan Frylinck and Ben Shikongo and spinners Nicol-Loftie Eaton (great figures of three wickets for five runs in the second T20), Gerhard Erasmus and Mauritius Ngupita got amongst the wickets.

Other players were added as the series progressed and they have all put in good performances to stake their claims.

In the middle order Karl Birkenstock grabbed his chance with some fine batting performances, scoring 41 and 29, as did Pikky Ya France with 33 and 20.

Their 45-run partnership in the third T20 on Monday saved Namibia from a potential defeat, as they took the total from 66 for six wickets to 111 for seven, allowing Namibia to reach Zimbabwe’s modest target of 130.

Other upcoming players also put in fine performances in Wednesday’s first 50-over match, like Michau du Preez (30), Michael van Lingen, who took 3/14, and Dewald Nell with 3/55.

Namibia’s batsmen set the platform, scoring 322 all out, while the bowlers efficiently dismissed Zimbabwe for 210.

Captain Gerhard Erasmus was the Eagles’ match winner, scoring 97 off 89 balls, but he received good support right down the batting order.

Opener Stephen Baard scored 34 off 35 balls, Michau du Preez scored 30, Birkenstock 41, Ya France 33 and Jan Frylinck 32 as Namibia piled on the runs to reach 322 all out.

In reply, Emerging Zimbabwe got off to a rocky start against Namibia’s pace attack as Dewald Nell took three early wickets and Jan Frylinck one to reduce them to 46/4.

Richmond Mutumbami led a fine recovery, putting on 88 runs with Kevin Kasuza before Scholtz bowled the latter for 38. Mutumbami was eventually dismissed for 91 before the whole side was dismissed for 210.

Van Lingen (3/14) and Nell (3/55) were Namibia’s stand-out bowlers.

The second 50-over match between the two sides takes place at the Wanderers field today, starting at 09h30.

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