Cricket action returns

Cricket action returns
Cricket action returns

Africa-Press – Namibia. CRICKET league action returns this weekend with Premier League log leaders Wanderers hosting Trustco United in Windhoek, while CCD Tigers travel to the coast to take on MR24/7 Welwitschia.

Wanderers are the only remaining unbeaten team in the league and on their home ground should start as favourites against a United side that lost their opening two matches, before recording their first victory against Welwitschia on 4 December last year.

That victory saw United moving up to third position on the log on four points, but they are still well behind the pace-setters Wanderers, who are on 12 points from three matches, while WHS Old Boys are second on 12 from four matches.

Wanderers have a star-studded team including numerous national players, like the all-rounders JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck and Karl Birkenstock, middle order batsman Michau du Preez, and spinner Bernard Scholtz, while several other national fringe players have also put in some good performances.

They include opening batsman Niko Davin, who hit a century against Welwitschia and is currently fourth on the top run-scorers list with 130 runs at an average of 65,00.

The national under-19 opener JC Balt has also given some steady performances with the bat, scoring 62 runs in three matches at an average of 32,00, while pace bowler Dewald Nell and spinners Danie van Schoor and Nicolaas Scholtz are all amongst the top 10 wicket takers to date.

While Wanderers have quality and depth and a healthy competition for places in the starting line-up, United have had to do with far fewer stars in their squad.

In fact, they only had one player in the national squad last year in all-rounder Sean Fouche, until the recent signing of all-rounder Michael van Lingen, who joined them towards the end of last year.

He made an immediate impact, scoring 151 off 89 balls to lead them to a 92-run victory against Welwitschia, and will once again be heavily relied upon with both bat and ball.

Captain Lohan Louwrens, who has developed into a fine spinner, could also play an important all-rounder role. He is currently the top wicket taker in the league with eight wickets at an average of 13,00, while he is ninth on the list of top run scorers with 99 runs at an average of 33,00.

United’s depth, however, will be tested to the full by Wanderers and other players will also have to step up with good performances if they hope to pull off an upset win. The bottom two teams on the log, fourth-placed CCD and fifth-placed Welwitschia, will battle it out at the Sparta ground in Walvis Bay.

Welwitschia are still without a win after suffering heavy defeats in all three their matches to date, with WHS Old Boys thumping them by 222 runs, Wanderers winning by nine wickets and United winning by 92 runs.

The former United all-rounder Nyasha Nyashadzaishe has been their stand-out performer to date, and is currently third amongst the top bowlers with six wickets at an average of 20,83, and seventh amongst the top batsmen with 103 runs at an average of 34,33.

Having lost several of their top players to other clubs in recent years, they are busy rebuilding with a young squad, including bright prospects like Matthew de Gouveia, William Lottering, Fritz Coetzee and Tangi Nuuyoma.

CCD have a much stronger team on paper, including national players like Stephan Baard, Nicole Loftie-Eaton and Ben Shikongo, but they have largely failed to live up to their potential.

Their only batsman who has made an impact is Joshuan Julius, who scored a century in their only victory against United on 13 November, and is currently eighth on the list of top batsmen with 102 runs at an average of 51,00.

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