Namibia: Cricket's Semifinalists Virtually Assured

THE final round of Cricket Namibia's 50-over league takes this place this weekend, with the semifinalists for next weekend's knockout stages virtually assured.

Bottom of the log MR 24/7 Welwitschia trail fourth-placed Trustco United by 24 points and it would be a nearly impossible task to make up the deficit when they host WHS Old Boys at the Sparta field in Walvis Bay tomorrow.

Welwitschia have lost six of their seven matches, with their first round encounter against Old Boys being rained out, suffering some heavy defeats in the process.

A fortnight ago they lost by 100 runs to CCD Tigers, on 13 February they lost by eight wickets to United, and on 6 February, Wanderers thumped them by 181 runs.

They have some skilful players in their ranks like the Groenewald twins, Zhivago and Shalako, the young batsman Matthew de Gouveia and the all-rounders Michael van Lingen and Pieter Smit, but they are also in a rebuilding phase with promising juniors like Alastair Gurirab, Fungai Hlupo, Tangi Nuuyoma and Ado Iita coming up through the junior ranks.

WHS Old Boys, on the other hand are the defending champions, and along with Wanderers, have been a class apart during this season's league campaign.

Wanderers currently lead the log on 113 points, followed by Old Boys on 98, CCD Tigers (85), United (48) and Welwitschias (24).

Last weekend Old Boys suffered their second defeat to Wanderers, going down by 61 runs, but they have also recorded some big victories along the way, beating United by 180 runs in October and by 194 runs in their return leg last month.

They have a strong batting lineup with the likes of Zane Green, Wimpie Viljoen, Gerhard Erasmus, Craig Williams, Divan La Cock and Malan Kruger, while bowlers like Tangeni Lungameni, Melrick Robyn, Mauritius Ngupita, Williams, Erasmus and La Cock have all played a role in their success.

Tomorrow's other match sees CCD hosting log-leaders Wanderers at the CCD field in Pionierspark.

Their first round match was also rained out, but Wanderers have been in great form this season, and are still unbeaten on the log.

Last weekend they beat Old Boys by 61 runs when their lower-order came to the rescue, as they recovered from 45/4 to reach 168 all out.

On that occasion Karl Birkenstock (62) and Ruben Claassen (34 not out) took them to safety, but with other national players like JP Kotze, Niko Davin, Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and Bernard Scholtz in their ranks, they have a lot of depth.

CCD Tigers have several quality players like Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Stephan Baard, Ramon Wilmot, Joshuan Julius and Ben Shikongo, but they have seldom clicked together, and if they live to their full potential they could cause a surprise against Wanderers.

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