Namibia – Netherlands clash is a real “six-pointer” in ICC Intercontinental Cup

Fri, Mar 28, 2008 1:35 PM

In soccer it is called a six-pointer, a match between two rivals close to each other in the listings with the winner leaping clear while the loser suddenly finds itself off the pace and facing a desperate game of catch-up.

Well, the Namibia – Netherlands match, starting in Windhoek on Thursday, is something akin to that in this year's ICC Intercontinental Cup, the first-class tournament for the leading Associate teams.

True there are 14 points between the sides but they are next to each other in third (Namibia) and fourth (Netherlands) spots and both know that a win will not only propel it up the table but also give it momentum ahead of matches early next month as well as ensuring the loser will have to play catch-up in a major way in order to regain lost ground.

In the case of Namibia, it lies 18 points behind leaders Kenya and just one adrift of Ireland, in second position. Namibia will charge to the top of the listing if it wins in Windhoek with first innings points and it could then consolidate that lead when it goes head-to-head with Scotland the following week, again on home soil.

Given Namibia's current track record – three wins from as many matches, against Canada, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates – it certainly appears a goal that is achievable as the African side looks to achieve a top-two placing that would earn it a spot in the final for the first time.

Looking ahead to the match, Namibia captain Louis Burger said: "One of our goals as a team is to get to the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup and this year we have a great chance of doing just that. It is a great competition and we take it very seriously. I think we are ready.

"This is a big game for us. We are really looking forward to it because, every time we play the Netherlands, it seems to be a good game. At this stage it is like a derby for us as we tend to play them a lot.

"They (the Netherlands) usually come very hard at us and I imagine they will do the same this time. We always go hard at them too so it should be fun.

"There is a good spirit in Namibian cricket at the moment. We play every game to win and right now it is working well for us."

Namibia will have to make do without promising young batsman Dawid Botha, who has opted to concentrate on academia ahead of cricket, at least for this match. And Louis Burger, although philosophical, admitted his disappointment at Botha's absence.

'Losing Dawid is a blow for us because he is a fine player but he has committed himself to his studies so we have to plan without him," he said. "There are a few other young guys coming through though so the future is very bright."

Two of those players are Sean Silver and Raymond van Schoor, who, like Botha, took part in the recent ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia. Both are included in the squad for this match.

Burger also confessed to concern about conditions ahead of such a big game for both sides.

"Preparations have been hampered a little bit because over the past few weeks it has rained a lot here in Windhoek, more than usual for this time of year," he said.

"But we are playing in a South African competition as well so whenever we go to Pretoria or Johannesburg we get our games in. We have been practicing hard for this game so I think we are ready."

If it is a big game for Namibia then the same could be said of the encounter from a Dutch perspective.

Victory for the Netherlands would see it leapfrog over both Namibia and Ireland and into second spot, nipping at Kenya's coat-tails.

From Windhoek the side flies to Dubai to face the UAE and so two wins from the next two matches could see it either very much in the shake-up for a top two placing or facing a seriously uphill task to achieve that end.

The Dutch side certainly has a look of quality about it. County cricketers Ryan ten Doeschate and Alexei Kervezee are supplemented by top-order batsman and leg-spinner Daan van Bunge's return. He has two ICC Cricket World Cups behind him while batsman Bas Zuiderent has three. And there are several others who have played at that level.

The side is now tutored by Peter Drinnen, the former Scotland coach.

Namibia (squad): Louis Burger (captain), JB Burger, Raymond van Schoor, Gerri Snyman, Deon Kotze, Bjorn Kotze, Kola Burger, Tobias Verwey, Louis Klazinga, Ian van Zyl, Craig Williams, Sean Silver, Sarel Burger, Nicolaas Scholtz.

Netherlands (from): Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Daan van Bunge, Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom de Grooth, Maurits Jonkman, Muhammad Kashif, Alexei Kervezee, Geert Maarten Mol, Edgar Schiferli, Pieter Seelaar, Jeroen Smits, Eric Szwarczynski, Bas Zuiderent.

Umpires: Jeff Luck and Russell Tiffin

ICC Intercontinental Cup table (as of 26 March)

Team P WO WI D LI LO T Points

Kenya 4 3 4 - - 1 - 66

Ireland 3 2 3 1 - - - 49

Namibia 3 3 1 - 2 - - 48

Netherlands 3 2 1 - 2 1 - 34

Canada 4 1 2 - 2 3 - 26

Scotland 3 1 1 2 1 - - 26

UAE 6 1 1 1 4 4 - 23

Bermuda 4 0 1 - 3 4 - 6

WO - outright win - 14 points

WI - lead on first innings (also retained if outright loss) - 6 points

LI - behind on first innings - 0 points

LO - outright loss - 0 points

TO - outright tie - 7 points each

TI - tie first innings - 3 pts each

D - draw - 3 pts each

Remaining fixtures:

3-6 Apr - UAE v Netherlands, Sharjah Stadium

4-7 Apr - Namibia v Scotland, Windhoek

4-7 Jul - Canada v Bermuda, Toronto (Maple Leaf)

9-12 Jul - Netherlands v Ireland, Rotterdam (VOC)

10-13 Jul - Bermuda v Scotland, TBC

16-19 Jul - Canada v Scotland, Toronto (Maple Leaf)

6-9 Aug - Ireland v Canada, TBC

7-10 Aug - Scotland v Kenya, Glasgow (Clydesdale CC)

16-19 Aug - Netherlands v Kenya, Amsterdam (VRA CC)

3-6 Sep - Bermuda v Namibia, TBC

5-8 Oct - Namibia v Ireland, TBC

12-15 Oct - Kenya v Ireland, TBC

12-16 Nov – FINAL, UAE

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