6 February 2018

Namibia Eye Div2 Success

Namibia are targeting a top two finish in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 tournament, which starts in Windhoek on Thursday.

The long-anticipated round-robin knock-out event is the second last step towards getting closer to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.

Hosts of the qualifying competition for a second time, Namibia want to be one of the two teams that advance to the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe.

Also with similar ambitions are Canada, Kenya, Nepal, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, who are all expected in Windhoek on Tuesday.

"They will all be a big challenge. We will be taking every game very seriously. They are all very good teams," Namibian coach Dee Thakur said during the team's national colours' presentation ceremony by the Namibia Sports Commission on Monday.

"We have been here before. We finished second before. So, to be in the top two is the objective. We want to do well and go through to the qualifier in Zimbabwe," he added.

Former captain Stephen Baard said the team is highly motivated, and has worked hard to realise that objective.

"We have been preparing for a long time. The last qualifier was three years ago, so we have been working towards this goal since then," said the 25-year-old batsman.

"The team spirit is very good. It is a very exciting time for Namibian cricket. We have a few new young faces coming through who want to do well. The guys are in a good space, and are ready," an upbeat Baard said.

Namibia first hosted this event in 2015, and Cricket Namibia (CN) are excited to have been chosen again to host the tournament, which runs until 15 February.

"This is a very important tournament for Cricket Namibia, and for the country. We have worked very hard towards getting the rights to host this event," said CN chief executive officer Peter Forster.

"We are prepared to deliver a well-organised event. It will be played across three high-standard venues. There are very few countries that have three very good venues for such events. This means we have done well in terms of our infrastructure," he stressed.

Namibia face Nepal at the Windhoek Afrikaans Private School (WAP), with Kenya playing the UAE at Wanderers, and Oman up against Canada at Trustco United on the opening day of action.

On Friday, the UAE take on Canada at Wanderers; Nepal face Oman at WAP; and Namibia host Kenya at Trustco United.

On Sunday, Namibia will look to get the better of Oman at Wanderers, while Kenya and Canada battle at WAP, with UAE and Nepal in the fixture at Trustco United.

The Wanderers will see Kenya versus Nepal, as UAE take on Oman at WAP, and Namibia face Canada at Trustco United on Monday, 12 February.

On Valentine's Day, the UAE and Namibia play at WAP, Kenya are up against Oman at Trustco United, while Nepal and Canada do battle at Wanderers.

The final takes place the following day at Wanderers, with the third and fourth-place play-off set for WAP, while the match to determine who ends fifth and sixth will be contested at Trustco United.

The ICC WCL Div 2 top two move on to the final phase of qualification in Zimbabwe, where they will join two groups.

In Group A are the West Indies, Ireland, The Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the winners of the ICC WCL Div 2.

The runners-up will join Group B alongside Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Hong Kong.

The top two teams at this qualifier advance to the ICC Cricket World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales, from 30 May to 14 July 2019.

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