THE Namibian Club Cricket 50 over series is nearing its conclusion with the semifinals due to take place in Windhoek on Saturday.
The defending champions Wanderers host CCD Tigers at the Wanderers field, while WHS Old Boys host Mr 24/7 Welwitschia at the WHS field.
After last weekend’s final league matches were rained out and registered as draws, Wanderers finished on top of the log ahead of Old Boys by the slightest of margins.
Both teams finished on 22 points after winning five, losing two and drawing one match, while they also had the same nett run rate of 1,12. Wanderers, however, had a slightly better run rate of 5,1 to Old Boys’ 4,28 which gave them the top spot and a home semifinal match up with CCD Tigers, who finished fourth on 14 points. Old Boys take on Welwitschia who finished third on 16.
Wanderers will start as the favourites against CCD after winning both their league encounters earlier in the season.
On 16 November 2019 they scored a comprehensive 127-run victory and in the return match two weeks ago they won by 70 runs.
Wanderers have also been more consistent, with their only defeats being away to Welwitschia and Old Boys, while CCD took a while to get going and only recorded one victory, against bottom-placed United during the first round of the competition.
Their form, however, picked up in the second round with two big wins against Welwitschia (by eight wickets) and United (by nine wickets), before their 70-run defeat to Wanderers a fortnight ago.
In that match, Wanderers set CCD a winning target of 215, with JP Kotze scoring a rapid 85, which included six sixes, while JC Balt scored 46 and Nicolaas Scholtz 29.
In CCD’s reply, Ramon Wilmot scored a fine 76 off 79 balls (3×6, 5×4), but he received little support and they were all out for 146.
If CCD hope to win on Saturday, their top order batsmen will have to build a bigger total for their bowlers to defend, and the availability of their national players, Stephen Baard, Pikky Ya France, Nicol Loftie-Eaton and Ben Shikongo could play a decisive role.
The are all due to return from South Africa on Friday after representing Namibia against Ireland A in Pretoria, but Wanderers also have several national players to call on if they are available, like Bernard Scholtz, Niko Davin, Karl Birkenstock, Jan Frylinck and Jan Izak de Villiers.
The encounter between WHS Old Boys and Mr 24/7 Welwitschia could go down to the wire, with each side having won one match this season.
On 9 November, Welwitschia won by five wickets in Windhoek, but in the return leg in Walvis Bay on 1 February, Old Boys won a close encounter by 22 runs.
They have some talented batsmen like Mias Strauss, Scott Winborn and the exciting Matthew de Gouveia, but the experienced Gerrie Snyman indicated that he will not be available for the match.
Old Boys also have several players in the national squad like the national captain Gerhard Erasmus, Zane Green, Craig Williams and Tangeni Lungameni, and if they are available they will start as the favourites.