Tucked away in one corner of Cricket Namibia website, there is a footnote: ‘Working with Cricket South Africa’. “Cricket Namibia has a strong association with Cricket South Africa, which helps meet its commitment to develop cricket in Africa by allowing Namibia to participate in the amateur South African Airways three-day and one-day provincial tournament. This allows Cricket Namibia to develop players at a far higher level than it would have the opportunity to do so,” it says.
On Sunday, in the beach town of Cox Bazar, Namibia pulled the rug from under South Africa’s feet, beating the 2014 Under-19 World Champions by two wickets and ending their title defence. In the process, Namibia, who had won their first game against Scotland, advanced to the quarterfinals from Group A along with hosts Bangladesh. The two teams will play on Tuesday to decide who will they face in the last eight: India or Nepal.
Take a breath and consider it again: Namibia beat South Africa. How big is this upset? There are no ICC Under-19 rankings, but Nambia are placed 18th in the ICC ODI rankings for the senior team. Though, this is an age-group competition, and the South Africans who were defending the title were not the same as those who had won it in the UAE, yet it was one shock of ages. Potentially the cricketing equivalent of James Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson. The architect of this win was Lohan Louwren, who made an unbeaten 58 off 97 balls, guiding Namibia to safety after they were threatened to unravel at one stage in the 137-run chase. To give more proof that this upset of the Saffers was made in South Africa, Louwren has played first-class cricket for Namibia in SA.
Another star performer on the day was medium pacer Michael van Lingen, who took four wickets, as South Africa were reduced to 37/6 and then 60/8. William Ludic’s 42 run rearguard prevented them from being bowled out, but the total of 136 was meagre to say the least. The South African bowlers then reduced Namibia to 10/2 to raise hopes, but while they kept taking wickets at regular intervals, they just couldn’t remove Louwren. Three quick wickets towards the end had the Namibian dugout on a knife’s edge, but eventually the South Africans ran out of runs to defend. In the 40th over, as Fritz Coetzee hit the ball and stole a single, the Namibian players jumped off their chairs, dashed to the ground and buried him and Louwren in a pile of human bodies.
Brief scores: Group A (Cox’s Bazar):
South Africa 136-9 in 50 overs (Willem Ludick 42, Michael van Lingen 4-24, Fritz Coetzee 3-16) lost to Namibia 137-8 in 39.4 overs (Lohan Louwrens 58 not out) by two wickets.
Bangladesh 256-6 in 50 overs (Nazmul Hossain 113 not out, Mehidy Miraz 51, Mohammad Ghaffar 4-60) beat Scotland 142 in 47.2 overs (Azeem Dar 50; Mohammad Saifuddin 3-17) by 114 runs;
Group C (Chittagong):
West Indies 340-7 in 50 overs (Shamar Springer 106, G Pope 76; Cakacaka Tikoisuva 6-59) beat Fiji 78 in 27.3 overs (G Pope 4-24) by 262 runs.
England 288-4 in 50 overs (J Burnham 106 not out, D Lawrence 59) beat Zimbabwe 159 in 43.4 overs (J Ives 91, S Mahmood 4-39)