Namibia and Ireland will go head to head on Saturday in pursuit of their dreams for Test status in the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup, which will be played in the Wanderers Stadium, Windhoek.
The duo will square-off against each other in a second round ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture in Windhoek from 22 October, with possibility of both the sides moving ahead of the Netherlands. Netherlands leads Namibia and Ireland by six points, but in the scenario of the side winning the match after conceding a first innings lead, the Dutch will drop to third as in this situation the side that wins the match will collect 13 points while the side that claims the first innings lead will get seven points.
In the first round fixtures, reigning champion Ireland defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by an innings and 26 runs in Malahide in June, while Namibia recorded a 114-run victory over Hong Kong in May. Namibia will once again be aiming to make home advantage count against William Porterfield’s experienced side.
This outcome will strengthen either side’s ambitions of winning the ICC Intercontinental Cup and qualify for the ICC Test Challenge, which will be played against the 10th-ranked Test side on a home and away basis in 2018. If the ICC Intercontinental Cup winner wins the ICC Test Challenge, then it will secure Test status until the next ICC Test Challenge, which will take place in 2022.
Looking ahead to the four-day game which starts in Windhoek on Saturday, Namibia skipper Stephan Baard, who is set to feature in his 36th first-class match, said: “The Intercontinental Cup competition is an unbelievable experience and playing against the top Associate side is always an exciting prospect.
“We have been working hard over the last few months and we are looking forward to the challenge that Ireland will bring. It's going to be a tough, but I feel we are ready to compete and even come out on top.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield said: “It’s great to be going to Namibia to get back into I-Cup action. It has been a while in coming around since our game against the UAE, but after our performance in that game everyone has been looking forward to putting in another big performance.
“We know what is at stake come the end of the competition, but we have to take things game by game, and even session by session, in order to pick up the points required.”
In the ICC World Cricket League Championship, it will be an all-African affair when Namibia welcomes Kenya in two 50 Over games at the same venue on 30 October and 1 November. The top four sides from this tournament will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in Bangladesh in 2018.
Namibia (from) – Stephan Baard (captain), Sarel Burger, Christopher Coombe, Niko Davin, Michiel du Preez, Zane Green, Zhivago Groenewald, Jean-Pierre Kotze, Xander Pitchers, Bernhard Scholtz, Johannes Smit, Christiaan Snyman, Gerrie Snyman, Raymond van Schoor and Helao Ya France.
Ireland (from): William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson and Craig Young.
Umpires - Adrian Holdstock, Wynand Louw and Jeff Luck (Reserve Umpire)
Match Referee - David Jukes
Namibia v Ireland
24-27 October – Four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup, Wanderers, Windhoek
Namibia v Kenya
30 October and 1 November – ICC World Cricket League Championship, Wanderers, Windhoek
Intercontinental Cup Table
Team Played Won Lost Draw Points
Netherlands 2 1 1 - 26
Ireland 1 1 - - 20
Namibia 1 1 - - 20
PNG 1 1 - - 14
Scotland 2 - - 2 13
Afghanistan 1 - - 1 7
Hong Kong 1 - 1 - 0
UAE 1 - 1 - 0
ICC World Cricket League Table
Team Played Won Lost N/R Points
Netherlands 4 2 0 2 6
Scotland 4 2 0 2 6
Hong Kong 2 1 1 0 2
Kenya 2 1 1 0 2
UAE 2 1 1 0 2
Namibia 2 1 1 0 2
Nepal 2 0 2 0 0
PNG 2 0 2 0 0