9 January 2018

Namibia: Makeshift Namibia Crash to Pakistan

A makeshift Namibia u19 cricket team suffered a 190-run defeat to Pakistan u19 in Christchurch on Monday.

The Namibian side is currently preparing for the u19 Cricket World Cup which starts in New Zealand on Saturday, but problems with their flight schedule to New Zealand meant that only half of the team had arrived in time for yesterday's warm-up match against Pakistan.

According to Batch Loftie-Eaton, a parent of one of Namibia's players, Nicol, the side was delayed in Sydney, Australia and had to make alternative arrangements.

"There were endless issues with Aussie visas and then the connection flight (to Christchurch) was delayed due to rain storms in New Zealand," he said in a post on the Namibian u19 cricket team's Whatsapp group.

"Everything was going according to plan, but the Aussies didn't want them to fly as the connection time for the flight from Sydney to Christchurch was too short for everyone to go through customs," he added.

This resulted in a huge delay as flights had to be rebooked and the team had to be split into two groups and had to fly via Dubai and Auckland. The first group arrived in Christchurch on Sunday, while the second group only arrived yesterday morning.

"Rebooking flights was a challenge as a result of the festive holidays and limited space. The ICC (International Cricket Council) helped Andre (Schmidlin, Namibia's team manager) as much as they could and eventually the team split into two and flights were rescheduled via Dubai and Auckland to Christchurch. The u18 players had to fly with Andre as their guardian in terms of the parents' consent letters," Loftie-Eaton added.

As such, only six Namibian players were in action against Pakistan yesterday, while the rest of the team was made up of extra Pakistani players and local New Zealand players from the Christchurch area.

Playing at Hagley Park, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Namibia got an early breakthrough when one of their guest players, Richard Turpie dismissed Muhammad Alam for one, but Pakistan soon recovered, led by Muhammad Khan, who went on to score a great century. He eventually retired after reaching 102 off 114 balls, which included 14 fours.

Alam shared a fourth wicket stand of 136 runs with Aly Zaryab, who scored 51, while Mohammad Taha scored 56, before the whole team was out for 297 runs off their 50 overs.

Namibia's 16-year-old pace bowler Jan Izak de Villiers was his team's best bowler, taking three wickets for 52 runs off 8,4 overs, while Nicol Loftie-Eaton took 2/37 off 5,1 overs, and another guest player, Matt Hay took 2/44 off six overs.

Namibia's reply got off to a poor start as Shaun Fouche (0) and Henry Brink (2) were both dismissed cheaply, to leave them struggling at 9/2 after five overs.

Guest players Imran Shah (10) and Matt Hay (34) gave them hope, while De Villiers added 18 further down the order, but they were never in contention as the whole team was dismissed for 107 runs.

Despite the huge defeat, the result had to be seen in perspective, according to Loftie-Eaton.

"Playing against Pakistan after arriving 18 hours earlier in Christchurch and that after travelling about 24 hours through various time zones, obviously had an influence. But at least two batsmen had a decent time in the middle against a Pakistan side that recently beat New Zealand and Australia u19," he said.

On 27 December, Pakistan u19 beat Australia u19 by six wickets while on 3 January they beat New Zealand u19 by five wickets.

In other u19 warmup matches on Monday, Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by 56 runs; New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by 52 runs; and the West Indies beat Papua new Guinea by seven wickets.

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