Namibia have been crowned International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division 2 champions after a comprehensive victory over Oman in the final in Windhoek on Saturday.
Both teams were already assured of qualification to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2, guaranteeing more regular competitive cricket and their ODI status in the process, before taking to the field.
But Namibia reversed their group-stage defeat to the same opponents to take the win and division title, with Jan Frylinck taking five wickets in the 145-run victory.
Batting first, Namibia started on the front foot despite the earlier wicket of Stephan Baard (13), with Karl Birkenstock making his first significant effort of the competition, scoring 61.
Regular wickets seemed to hold the hosts back with several batsmen getting in and getting out, as Fayyaz Butt (2/28) and Aqib Ilyas (2/32) helped Oman restrict their opponents to 226/7 from 50 overs.
But Namibia made early inroads into the chase, with Khawar Ali (3), Jatinder Singh (0), Ilyas (11) and captain Zeeshan Maqsood (12) falling within eight overs as Oman slipped to 26/4.
Three of those wickets went to Jan Frylinck and he wasn’t done there, finishing with 5/13 from his eight overs as Oman were bowled out for 81.
JJ Smit chipped in with three wickets, taking the last scalp of Bilal Khan, caught behind, with Suraj Kumar top-scoring with 27.
The final also saw history made on the field, with Claire Polosak becoming the first woman umpire to stand in a men’s ODI.
Following the win, Namibia Head Coach Pierre de Bruyn said, “I can’t explain it, we have put such hard work in, I know it sounds like a cliché, but what we have achieved today for the nation is incredibly important. We have so much talent in this country, and its exciting times for Namibia cricket and I hope that every young player wants to be part of the system. Looking ahead to the next two years, these matches are the matches we want to play in, we want to grow and we need to go to the next level.”
Player of the Tournament, Namibia’s JJ Smit said, “Everybody has worked hard for this and comes down to the whole team, not just me as an individual so I am grateful to the team, really pleased. The tournament was very memorable, last year we were all down and out, and this year to qualify and to get ODI status is perfect.”
Oman Head Coach Duleep Mendis said, “It was a good tournament, all the teams played very competitive cricket and it was a very good tournament, organised well, I think the best team won the tournament at the end. Now we have ODI status, we will have to put a long term plan in place and how we can sustain this over the next two years. We need to improve and we will certainly do that.”
Meanwhile, third place went to Papua New Guinea as they overcame United States of America by five wickets, celebrating their qualification in style thanks to a strong all-round display.
Canada narrowly missed out on a League 2 place and ODI status in their final group game but ended their campaign in Namibia on a high, victorious against Hong Kong to secure fifth place, with both teams now playing in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League.