Namibia: Women's Cricket Enters New Era

The national women's cricket side warmed up with three out of four T20 victories against an APS u14 team on Sunday.

With no international matches on the immediate horizon due to Covid-19, the matches mainly served as an opportunity for the new national women's coach, Francois van der Merwe to see the women in action.

Van der Merwe, who has an impressive CV, having coached South Africa's top provincial side, North West, as well as the Emerging Proteas, said he was excited by the talent on display.

"I already came here in February on a consultation visit so I've met the players before, but I was quite impressed by what I saw. They are very keen to learn, so now we must just give them more opportunities to play," he said yesterday.

Van der Merwe joined the team over the weekend after arriving from South Africa and having to undergo a two-week quarantine, and immediately sprung to work.

"We are moving into a new environment - we want to make the women's game semi-professional in Namibia, and are training every day. We have two sessions per day, Mondays to Fridays, at the Wanderers nets, while the girls also have strength and conditioning sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays," he said.

"There is fantastic talent here and the future looks bright. They just need to get playing opportunities now. There are no international matches on the horizon now, but we will try and organise some tours by South African provincial teams to Namibia," he added.

On Saturday each team won one match, but on Sunday the women won both encounters and Van der Merwe said they would soon play against stronger opposition.

"The women haven't played for a while, so we just started with the u14's, but we will definitely get them stronger opposition soon," he said.

In the third T20 match on Sunday, the APS u14 team was restricted to 94 runs for three wickets off their 20 overs, before the women's side reached the target for the loss of three wickets.

Sylvia Shihepo made an early breakthrough for the women when she bowled Luca Micillo for a golden duck, and although the other top-order batsmen weighed in with useful contributions, they struggled to get going against some disciplined bowling.

Wian Buhr scored 23 off 37 balls and Merwe van Wyk 16 off 43, before Waldre Kotze picked up the tempo, scoring 30 not out off 33 balls, which included one six and three fours.

For the women, Shihepo took one wicket for 10 runs off four overs and Reehana Khan 1/5 off one over.

In reply, the women lost Arrasta Diergaardt (0) and Yasmeen Khan (5) early on, but Kayleen Green and Irene van Zyl revived their innings to put them on the road to victory.

Green scored 41 off 51 balls which included two fours, while Van Zyl scored 41 not out off 42 balls which included one four. Phia Gerber added 10 not out as the women reached 108/3 off their 20 overs.

Waldre Smith (1/7 off two overs) and Nico Pieters (1/2 off two overs) were the u14's best bowlers.

The women also won the fourth T20 on Sunday afternoon by 12 runs.

They scored 102 for five wickets off their 20 overs, with their top scorers being Arrasta Diergaardt (24 not out) and Kayleen Green (21 not out), while Waldre Kotze was the 14's best bowler, taking two wickets for 10 runs off two overs.

In reply, the u14's scored 90 for five wickets off their 20 overs, with Waldo Smith scoring 34 off 54 balls and Luca Micillo 18 off 31.

The women's best bowlers were Eveleen Kejarukua with 1/9 off four overs and Namusha Shiomwenyu with 1/4 off two overs.

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