Namibia storm past Singapore into the playoffs behind captain Erasmus
Namibia 191 for 8 (Erasmus 72, Kotze 36, Mahboob 3-29) beat Singapore 104 (Param 28, Frylinck 4-21, Viljoen 3-14) by 87 runs
Gerhard Erasmus struck four sixes off a 29-run over in the 13th to highlight a dominant night for the tournament's hottest team as the Namibia juggernaut notched their fourth straight win, beating Singapore by 87 runs on Saturday night at Dubai International Stadium. Namibia captain Erasmus notched his second straight fifty to clinch a spot in the playoffs of the T20 World Cup Qualifier while Singapore fell to their fourth straight loss to bow out of the tournament, having struggled since the mid-tournament bowling ban placed on offspinner Selladore Vijayakumar.
Singapore captain Amjad Mahboob won the toss and chose to bowl in the hopes of restricting Namibia to a total that would need to be chased down in roughly 13 overs, depending on Namibia's exact score, in order to pass them on the net run rate tiebreaker with an equal six points in the event of a win. They had a reasonable shot of doing so at the seven-over mark after Singapore struck thrice in three overs to make it 55 for 3.
Stephen Baard skied a flick off Sidhant Singh with the medium pacer calling off the infield to take a return catch at short cover in the fifth. Niko Davin fell into a trap hooking Janak Prakash to Singapore's best fielder, Tim David, at deep backward square in the sixth. Craig Williams then became Sidhant's second wicket slicing to backward point in the seventh to round out the sequence with another bow and arrow celebration.
But Sidhant had nothing left in his quiver to deal with Erasmus. Taking on the captain in his final over, Sidhant repeatedly opted for length deliveries and Erasmus capitalized on the true bounce of the pitch by tonking him over square leg and midwicket on four consecutive occasions for six. Sidhant went around the wicket for the fifth ball and though he denied Erasmus the chance to emulate Garry Sobers and Yuvraj Singh, the Namibia captain still managed to slice a wide yorker over third man for four. A skier off the last ball was put down by David at midwicket with Erasmus on 39 and he continued to punish Singapore for the next six overs before finally perishing to a flat slog to deep midwicket off Mahboob in the final over.
By that stage though, Erasmus had completed two devastating stands: 70 runs for the fourth wicket with JP Kotze and another 53 in five overs with JJ Smit for the fifth. Erasmus was one of three wickets in four balls to end the innings for Singapore captain Mahboob, but there were only faint smiles in the Singapore family box above the team dugouts.
Needing to chase the target of 192 in 12.3 overs in order to pass Namibia on net run rate, Singapore tried their best to imitate Netherlands against Ireland at Sylhet in 2014, swinging hard from the first over. But instead of 24 runs off Andy McBrine, they lost two wickets in the first six balls to Jan Frylinck. Surendran Chandramohan was bowled off his pads with an inswinger for a golden duck before Aryaman Sunil skied a slog over point. Aritra Dutta fell skying Christi Viljoen to mid-on making it three wickets in the first ten balls.
The big scalp of David was dropped twice in two balls in the third over but he only managed to last until the eighth over before charging left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz, waving through a skiddy arm ball to be stumped for 19. At 49 for 5, the match was effectively done before the halfway point of the chase. Singapore lasted until the 18th over before Viljoen and Frylinck finished off the tail.
Namibia can finish no lower than third place in the group regardless of Sunday's results on the last day of group play, guaranteeing them at least two chances to clinch a spot in the T20 World Cup for the first time.