|Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier, UAE 2012|
Namibia shock Ireland
ICC Media Release
In the feature match of the day Namibia began its campaign to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 in style when it defeated the number-two ranked side, Ireland, by four runs in its Group B fixture at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Oval 2, Dubai Sports City.
A good all-round performance by Louis Van Der Westhuizen helped Namibia in causing its first upset of the tournament. Van Der Westhuizen first scored 34 runs to help Namibia reach 160-8 and then claimed two for 37 to restrict Ireland to 156-9 which not only earned a famous victory for his side but also meant he walked away with the man of the match award.
Van der Westhuizen said: "It went really well. I saw the ball clearly and the team had a really good vibe. It always helps when the team spirits are up and playing Ireland is always a really big game. It is good to play the biggest team on the opening day and it is great to get a win against them.
"Namibia can be quite an unpredictable team, but when it comes off then we can beat anybody. The biggest challenge for us will be to be consistent throughout the event and keep up our performance levels."
Apart from Van Der Westhuizen, Raymond Van Schoor (31), Sarel Burger (21) and Craig Williams (19) were the other main run-getters for Namibia while Paul Stirling and George Dockrell equally shared six wickets between them, conceding 20 and 26 runs, respectively.
In their target chase, Ireland slumped to 65-5 in the 11th over before Gary Wilson (49) and John Mooney (38) put their side back on track by adding 71 runs for the sixth wicket off 44 balls.
In the last over, Ireland needed 18 runs and ended up four runs short after managing 13 runs, including two fours.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons said: "I don't think we underestimated Namibia today, we don't underestimate any team we face. We didn't start well in the game and allowed Namibia to score too many runs in the first six overs which proved to be a deciding factor and therefore we struggled.
"Everything needs to improve from tomorrow as we are not where we need to be in every aspect of our game for this event and that improvement has to start now."
Simmons struggled to find a pleasing aspect to Ireland's performance today but admitted: "I think the only pleasing part of the day for us was the partnership between John Mooney and Gary Wilson which got us back into the game but we didn't take the chances we needed to in order to finish things off."