NAMIBIAN Eagles coach Pierre de Bruyn expects a strong backlash from the Emerging South African team when the two sides meet in a three-match 50-over series, starting at the Wanderers field today.
The Eagles pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in their T20 series after losing the opening match last Friday, and De Bruyn said he expected the visitors to come back hard.
“They are a very good side with quality players and we were tested to the limit. I’m sure they will bounce back hard and if our skills are not good enough, we will definitely be exposed,” he said.
Regarding their T20 series victory, De Bruyn said he was heartened by the character shown by his team.
“It was a great result for us, and especially the fact that we managed to come back after losing the first match was very pleasing. We worked very hard to wrest the momentum back after we lost the opening match and it shows the character that we have built up over the last two years,” he said.
“On Saturday it was the individual brilliance of JJ Smit and his century partnership with Gerhard Erasmus was the defining moment of the match. Then on Sunday we played almost the perfect game – we had five batters all contributing and about four bowlers taking wickets, and we showed that we are a serious fielding side with energy and courage,” he added.
De Bruyn said the visitors had a very strong side that tested them to the full.
“We haven’t played any competitive cricket for a long time now and I must say Uganda did not offer the competition that I was hoping for. I also gathered important information from these matches to see where I can fit players in and what roles they can fulfil. They are now in a very competitive environment playing for places at the World Cup, so there’s healthy competition between the players,” he said.
De Bruyn made some adaptations like using Nicol Loftie-Eaton as an opener, and said he was pleased with the outcome.
“Craig Williams was not available for the T20s, but otherwise he would play, so we just looked at the option of using Nicol as an opener, although he has played there for his franchise. He did well and can bat anywhere from number one to seven, while he is also a bowler, so he is a versatile player,” he said.
“I was pleased with Ruben Trumpelmann’s bowling, he was excellent and brings something different to the attack, while Mauritius Ngupita is also a very good young player,” he added.
Namibia will now take on the Emerging SA team in a three-match 50-over series with the first match starting at Wanderers today, and De Bruyn said he expected a tough competition.
“We need a massive mindset reset and to play three 50-over matches in five days will be very tough mentally and physically, but this is our top priority, because of our ODI status and WCL Division 2 matches coming up, so we need to have a good week,” he said.
“Stephan Baard and Craig Williams will be back, while I’ll continue to experiment with a few roles and positions as well. I am really looking forward to the series and it should be a good contest,” he added.