Namibia captain pays tribute to Morne Morkel after shock T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka

Namibia's Gerhard Erasmus and Ben Shikongo celebrate the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya de Silva at Kardinia Park on Sunday. Picture: Martin Keep AFP

Namibia's Gerhard Erasmus and Ben Shikongo celebrate the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya de Silva at Kardinia Park on Sunday. Picture: Martin Keep AFP

Published Oct 16, 2022


Cape Town — Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus has paid tribute to former Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel after the team’s momentous victory over Sri Lanka in the opening game of the T20 World Cup in Geelong on Sunday.

The Namibians shocked the 2014 T20 world champions by posting a competitive 163/7, with a 69-run partnership off just 33 balls between two-thirds of the “Bomb Squad”, consisting of Jan Frylinck (44 off 28 balls) and JJ Smit (31 not out off 16 balls), setting up the total.

However, it was the bowling unit, led by Morkel from the sidelines as the bowling coach, that dismantled Sri Lanka for just 108 in 19 overs. Frylinck backed up his earlier batting heroics with 2/26, while another former Proteas all-rounder David Wiese (2/16), Bernard Scholtz (2/18) and Ben Shikongo (2/22) all chipped in with a couple of wickets apiece.

“Morne is an experienced cricketer. The freshness and the experience he’s brought over the last four months or so has been brilliant. He’s such a nice guy to work with, as well,” Erasmus said.

“Being a team that’s often quite close and often there’s not many fresh faces, not many fresh players coming in because of our small player base, I guess it’s always brilliant to have someone new on the coaching staff.”

Namibia qualified for the Super 12 stage at last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates for the first time, and now seem destined for a return to the main table. However they lost heavily to Sri Lanka in their opening game of last year’s qualifying stage, and Sunday’s historic victory has exemplified the growth Erasmus’ team has achieved over the past 12 months.

It has also not happened by accident with Namibia Cricket placing great emphasis on the team’s preparation, with the team recently completing a series involving the Lahore Qalanders and South Africa’s Lions.

Erasmus also pointed out that his team now have a genuine belief they can beat anyone after their participation in the Super 12 last year.

“You only get to try and test your mental skills by playing high-quality cricket at the tournament like we did last year at the World Cup, for example. Those experiences last year put us in a good stead for this tournament,” he said.

“The type of experience that we gained from there really showed and sort of gave us a great and clear idea of what type of skill we need to be able to compete on this oval. For one, the speed on the ball is more. The quality of the skills and the percentage of execution that guys are playing at is higher

“Basically, in training we sort of looked at that. We did a lot of work on playing the short ball, did a lot of skill work on playing different options, and I guess that showed.”

Namibia don’t have much time to celebrate their victory as they face the Netherlands in their next match tomorrow. The Dutch were also victorious on the opening day with a three-wicket victory over the UAE.


IOL Sport

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