Namibia starts ICC Intercontinental Cup off on high note

11 May 2015 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 11 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia’s national cricket team got off to a good start at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Intercontinental Cup.
The Eagle's Pride, as they are known by their ardent supporters, ended their first day of their four-day match against Hong Kong with 268 runs after 96 overs, with six wickets.
The day-one match was played on Sunday at the Wanderers Cricket Ground, where all the games will be played.
Things however did not go as well for the Namibian side on the second day, as they lost all their wickets and only managed to score four runs.
The Hong Kong side then sent the Namibian side to the field, and they had 78 runs, after 45 overs with six wickets when they went for the lunch break.
The Intercontinental Cup is the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) four-day, first-class competition for leading Associate and Affiliate Members (AMs).
It is part of the council’s development programme and designed to allow Associate Members of the ICC the chance to play first-class cricket matches against teams of similar skill.
A media statement issued by Cricket Namibia's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Donovan Zealand on Monday indicated that the Intercontinental Cup is the ICC’s four-day, first-class competition for leading Associate and Affiliate Members (AMs).
Zealand stated that Namibia won the toss and elected to bat first.
He noted that Hong Kong started off with a great spell of bowling up front, getting rid of both Xander Pitchers and Stephen Baard cheaply, with both batsmen being caught behind.
“Fortunately, the innings was resurrected by senior batsman Raymond van Schoor and Gerhard Erasmus, as both batsmen took the score to 113/2 at the lunch break,” he said, adding that the Hong Kong team came back strongly after the lunch break, getting rid of Gerhard Erasmus for 49 runs when he played a loose shot going for a wide ball.
Van Schoor carried on to make his 50 before being given out Leg Before Wicket (LBW) for 52, while Jean-Pierre Kotze did not last long as he played the ball straight to the midwicket fielder.
Former captain Sarel Burger was then joined by current captain Nikolaas Scholtz and they started the rebuilding process. Both batsmen reached their 50s, battling hard against some good tight bowling from the Hong Kong team.
Sarel Burger was unlucky to be caught behind to a ball that appeared to bounce short of the fielder for 52, but fortunately, thanks to a brilliant knock from the skipper, Namibia were able to finish on a strong 268/6.
Zealand said the competition first took place in 2004, but it now takes on greater significance with the winner in 2017 challenging the 10th-ranked full member for the opportunity to play test cricket.
“Besides Hong Kong, Namibia will compete against Ireland, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands over the two-year span in search of promotion,” he said.
He added that on 15 May, the Namibian One Day International (ODI) team will take on Hong Kong in their first ICC World Cricket League Championships match.
Namibia's cricket team qualified after being placed second in the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division Two here at the beginning of the year.
The top countries at the end of 2017 will earn direct passage into the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2018, while the winner will also have the opportunity to challenge for a place on the ICC’s ODI Rankings from 2018 onwards.