Record-breaking Namibia close in on victory
ICC Media Release
Namibia broke a remarkable first-class record on Monday when it hit the highest ever first-class total without a century in it.
Not only did it score 609 all out, but it then took two Uganda wickets before the close, to leave the visitors trailing by 203 runs with eight wickets remaining.
Every Namibia player reached double figures (the 122nd time this has happened in first-class cricket), with six players scoring half centuries, in a remarkable batting display.
Ewaid Steenkamp (87), Gerrie Snyman (86), Craig Williams (82), Tobias Verwey (73), Sarel Burger (68) and Louis van der Westhuizen(50) were those who reached fifty or more as the Uganda attack was made to toil for almost 180 overs.
The previous teams to pass 600 were Madhya Pradesh, who made 605 v Haryana in the 1998/99 season, and Surrey, who hit 603 against Gloucestershire in 2005.
Roger Mukasa had reached 48 not out for Uganda at close as it finished the day's play on 77-2.
Namibia’s coach Johan Rudolph admitted that he was surprised by the news that his side had broken the record.
"I was not aware of it. This is really interesting news. It did not strike me at all. We had three players scoring 80s and a couple of fifties as we built the innings. I am proud of my guys,’’ said Rudolph.
The main focus of the Namibia innings was not to repeat the mistakes of the game against United Arab Emirates in an earlier league match. It was therefore important to play uncharacteristically defensive knocks.
"Our main focus was to try and win sessions. The partnerships were the key. If you see the history of Namibian cricket, we have attacking batsmen. So hats off to all my players. They played the moment and showed good discipline. But it is still a pity that none of them scored a big hundred," opined Rudolph.
In particular, Rudolph was surprised by the effort put in by a normally adventurous Gerrie Snyman. The right-hander scored 86 off 201 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes.
"Gerrie took a lot of responsibility for a guy who is normally an aggressive batsman. He batted well to get us close on Sunday and then today held the innings together. He showed good disciplines. Even Ewaid Steenkamp (87) batted well. Obviously the skipper Craig Williams (82) also used all his experience."
Rudolph explained that the whole strategy in chasing down Uganda’s total of 329 was to first get close to it and then build a lead.
"Partnerships were the key. We wanted to bat as long as possible. The main focus was to get the six points (for the first innings lead). So yesterday we achieved the first objective and today we converted it into a big total," explained Rudolph.
Uganda coach Ebrahim Mohamed paid rich tributes to Namibia’s batting. "It was an unusually disciplined effort. For a team with so many hitters it was so different to see them bat with a calm approach. I must give them their due, they played well," praised Mohamed.