Namibia’s cricket team, ranked a lowly 19, reached the T20 World Cup second round for the first time with a stunning eight-wicket win over Ireland.
They now go into the Super 12 stage where they face former winners India and Pakistan, as well as New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland.
Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn revealed on Friday that his World Cup history-making team in the shortest Twenty20 format has been assembled with just 18 players to choose from in the country.
“We are not an organisation with the luxury of a lot of resources around us,” said de Bruyn. “I’ve got 18 players to pick from in my national squad and I know what they’ve put in for the last three years. It sounds like a cliche that the hard work has paid off, but it certainly did and I’m really ecstatic for the players.”
— 𝕄𝕚𝕒𝕟 𝕊𝕙𝕒𝕙𝕫𝕒𝕕 𝔽𝕒𝕣𝕠𝕠𝕢 🇩🇪🇵🇰 (@shaadD10) October 22, 2021
On Friday, Namibia chased down their modest 126 with skipper Gerhard Erasmus making an unbeaten 53.
“We are a small country, a small number of people play cricket. We should be proud of ourselves,” said Erasmus.
Namibia finished behind Sri Lanka in Group A after the 2014 champions dismissed the Netherlands for just 44, the second-lowest total in tournament history, for an eight-wicket win.
Sri Lanka will be grouped with England, Australia, South Africa, defending champions West Indies and Bangladesh in the Super 12.
“We are ecstatic, I’ve got to remind myself what just happened out there, but it has happened to a really good group of people,” added de Bruyn. “It’s time for us to reflect and also enjoy this moment, but we certainly didn’t come here to go and lie down now.
“Facing India, Pakistan and New Zealand, those types of teams, is going to be a great experience for these players but we want to be competitive in whatever we do, with ball, bat and in the field.
“The way we present ourselves, we are going to compete, and we are looking forward to that.”
Erasmus hit three boundaries and a six in his 49-ball innings, while David Wiese, who played for South Africa in the 2016 World Cup, was undefeated on 28.
“I count on my senior men to stand up when the pressure is on. And two of us did it tonight. Hopefully, we can do it through the tournament,” said Erasmus who put on 53 for the third wicket with Wiese.
Wiese smashed two sixes and a boundary in his 14-ball innings which was a whirlwind in comparison to Namibia’s sedate early progress.
As well as securing the last place in the Super 12 stage, Namibia are also guaranteed a spot in the 2022 tournament in Australia.