Netherlands made heavy weather of a small target before eking out a five-wicket win over Namibia to register their second consecutive victory in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in Geelong on Tuesday.
Netherlands dished out a fine bowling effort to restrict Namibia to 121 for six before taking the game deep. They completed the task in 19.3 overs in their first round Group A match.
Sitting pretty at 92 for one, Netherlands made a harakiri towards the end to allow Namibia to make a comeback. Vikramjit Singh (39 off 31) and Max O'Dowd (35 off 35) got Netherlands' chase off to a blazing start, sharing 59 runs for the opening wicket.
However, from 92 for one, Netherlands slumped to 101 for four, thanks to twin blows from left-arm pacer Johannes Jonathan Smit (2/24) in the 16th over. Skipper Scott Edwards did no good and perished in the next over.
But Bas de Leede (30 not out off 30) held his nerves, and in the company of Tim Pringle (8 not out), saw Netherlands home with a 20-run stand. Earlier, de Leede (2/18) shone with the ball as well, to help Netherlands restrict Namibia to the modest total.
Besides, Roelof van der Merwe (1/6), Pringle (1/15), Colin Ackermann (1/17) and Paul van Meekeren (1/18) also registered their names in the wicket column for Netherlands. Electing to bat, Namibia endured a poor start, losing their first three wickets for 32 runs.
Jan Frylinck (43) tried to resurrect Namibia's innings in the company of skipper Gerhard Erasmus' (16) before de Leede accounted for both the batters in a span of three balls in the 19th over. Michael van Lingen (20) and Stephan Baard (19) got starts at the top before being dismissed.
David Wiese (11 not out) and Smit (5 not out) remained unbeaten for Namibia. With two wins from as many games, Netherlands topped Group A ahead of Namibia (2 points from 2 games), and are better placed to qualify for the Super 12 stage.
Netherlands had defeated the UAE by three wickets in their opener, while Namibia stunned Sri Lanka by 55 runs. Netherlands will take on Sri Lanka in their last group match on Thursday, while Namibia will be up against UAE.
With two good outings, Netherlands skipper Edwards is eager to finish off their campaign on a positive note. “We did well in terms of front-loading the runs. We knew Namibia had some great bowlers in those conditions. It's well and truly in our hands, but for us, it's just about winning the third game,” he said after the match.
Namibia captain Erasmus said batting was a bit difficult on this wicket. “Never nice to be on the losing side...With the bat it seemed difficult for both sides. They ran better. We tried our best,” he said.