Windhoek [Namibia], March 30 (ANI): Namibia picked the attacking route while searching for their first win in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off.
Two early losses, both to Kabua Morea, didn't discourage the African team with Nikolaas Davin (90) and Gerhard Erasmus (125) going all guns blazing. The Namibian attitude was best shown as PNG bowlers were smashed all over the ground.
The Barramundis would have expected Davis' departure at the halfway stage to bring about a deceleration in scoring rate, while also encouraging more chances for the bowling side. However, Namibian skipper Erasmus and his new partner Jan Loftie-Eaton (61) proved equal to the task.
The duo scored runs at a consistent pace and ensured that the momentum stayed with Namibia. By the time Erasmus brought up his century off a six in the 37th over, the team was well on its way to a score of 300 and more.
Death over fireworks from Zane Green 33 (17), Ruben Trumpelmann 17 (5) and Karl Birkenstock 19 (8) meant that Namibia went way beyond that ordinary mark, and finished at 381/8, their highest ODI total.
Papua New Guinea tried to fight fire with fire and despite losing Tony Ura in just the second over, they still kept up the aggression. Kiplin Doriga and Sese Bau (54) made the most of a good batting strip, getting their team to 99 runs in merely 12 overs. The loss of Bau saw the scoring rate go through a major dip, even as the Barramundis suddenly slipped to 130/4 by the 20th over.
The innings saw another phase of rebuild, led by Charles Amini (109) and Assad Vala (57). The batters let loose after the 25th over, and added 120 runs over the next 10 overs. Vala was particularly brutal on Trumpelmann, taking his sixth over for 15 runs. The left-arm pacer had little respite, as it was Amini who targetted him in the next over, smashing 13 off his seventh.
As the duo took Ben Shikongo apart for 25 runs in the 33rd over to bring the required run rate below eight, PNG got their hopes up. Amini brought up his century in merely 66 balls. Finally, it was the skipper Erasmus (2/44) who got the better of his opposite number Vala in the 38th and Amini in the 40th over.
PNG found themselves on the back foot once again. There was a flutter of hope created by some lower-order hitting, but Trumpelmann (3/63) made a heroic double-wicket return in the 45th over to seal the game in Namibia's favour. (ANI)