Scotland was suffocated by a sequence of left-arm swings and medium pace that Namibia sent up on Wednesday, after being blown away by Afghanistan spinners two nights prior. But, with their spin trio, they had a strong start until JJ Smit and David Wiese formed a critical connection to pull out a close victory.
Namibia has already won three games in a row, after a strong start to the Super 12s. Scotland must refocus ahead of three potentially difficult matches against New Zealand, Pakistan, and India.
George Munsey was chopping on, Calum MacLeod nicking one he poked at, and Richie Berrington, who was filling in for Kyle Coetzer, was put out by a late inswing. Ruben Trumpelmann became the first bowler in T20I history to take three wickets in the first over.
Scotland has talked a lot about playing an aggressive style of cricket during the last three weeks. Matthew Cross and Michael Leask survived the early onslaught and helped Scotland end on 22 for 4 after an entertaining powerplay. Cross was far from fluent, but he dug in to back Leask, and the two combined for 39 points to get beyond the early seismic waves. Leask was responsible for a large portion of the runs in the stand.
Namibia’s success with the ball was due to their dull and robotic tactics: stump-to-stump bowling, cutters into the pitch, pace off and attempting to bowl away from hitting arcs. Namibia’s death bowling was led by Wiese and Frylinck, who didn’t allow a single boundary in the final 25 deliveries. Namibia’s openers, Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen got off to a poor start, with no boundaries off the bat in the opening 27 balls as Scotland kept it tight. Namibia gave Scotland a foot in the door, and their spinners made the most of it.
Scotland appeared to be in command, but Berrington sought to pull one over on Sharif by tying him down in the center with spin. However, when the dew set in, the ball continued to slide, allowing Smit and Wiese to pluck off critical runs, adding 35 in 31 balls to keep the asking rate in check.
Namibia triumphed by five wickets, with Smith scything a full delivery from Sharif to the point boundary for six to win the victory.