An electric first over from Ruben Trumpelmann set Namibia on their way to a four-wicket victory against Scotland in a tense Group 2 clash in Abu Dhabi.
The left-arm bowler sent three Scottish batters back to the pavilion within the opening six balls to get his side off to a dream start and he was well backed up by Jan Frylinck, who claimed two for 10 from four miserly overs.
Michael Leask’s defiant 44 from 27 balls dragged his side towards three figures, which they passed in the penultimate over, and Namibia took few risks in pursuit of the modest target.
Craig Williams (23) got the chase off to a solid start and though his stumping left his side four wickets down, JJ Smit’s unbeaten 32 saw Namibia home with five balls to spare.
Having been dismissed for 60 by Afghanistan in their Group 2 opener on Monday, Scotland were looking for a steady start when put in at the toss but Trumpelmann had other ideas.
The tone was set from the very first delivery of the match, which George Munsey chopped on to his stumps, and Namibia were in dreamland when Calum MacLeod edged behind without scoring.
It got even better for from the next ball as Richie Berrington was pinned lbw, with an unsuccessful review confirming leg stump would have been hit.
From two for three at the end of the first over, Scotland had a mountain to climb to post a competitive target and the situation almost grew more desperate when Craig Wallace – selected in place of injured skipper Kyle Coetzer – attempted a risky single to mid-off.
A full-length dive saw the batter just make his ground but he didn’t survive when struck on the pads by David Wiese in the fifth over as Scotland lost their fourth wicket with the score on 18.
Leask got off the mark in streaky fashion, an inside edge narrowly evading his stumps on its way to fine leg for four, but quickly settled in as he set about the rebuilding job.
He took his side past 50 by bludgeoning Michael van Lingen down the ground and followed up with the first six of the innings over long-on.
The valuable fifth-wicket partnership between Leask and Matthew Cross was brought to an end when the latter was clean bowled by Frylinck for 19 and Chris Greaves survived a let-off before he had scored when Zane Green put down a chance to his right later in the over.
Greaves went on to prove a useful foil for Leask, who continued to keep the scoreboard moving until he paid for showing his stumps to Smit and was bowled.
Mark Watt holed out off Frylinck but Scotland edged into three figures before a run-out from the final delivery ensured the innings was bookended by wickets falling.
With a required rate of 5.5 an over from the outset, Namibia openers Williams and Van Lingen were happy to be patient and accumulate steadily in the powerplay.
The first boundary off the bat did not arrive until the fifth over, when Van Lingen heaved Josh Davey through midwicket, and one quickly became two when a drive flew past mid-on from the next delivery.
But it was pressing the accelerator which brought Van Lingen’s demise, an attempted pull off Safyaan Sharif looping into the hands of Berrington at midwicket as Scotland broke through three balls before the end of the powerplay.
New man Green survived an lbw review due to Watt’s delivery pitching outside leg and his partner soon took the attack to the spinner, lofting him back over his head for the first six of the innings to bring up his side’s 50.
Scottish hopes were raised once more when Green picked out Munsey, who took a fine catch on the run at long-off, and Leask continued a fine individual performance by clean bowling skipper Gerhard Erasmus with his second delivery.
Williams was then stumped off a Watt wide as Namibia were reduced to 67 for four but Smit joined Wiese to calm the nerves.
Smit belted a Greaves full toss over deep midwicket for six and when Wiese cleared the ropes down the ground off Leask, the required runs moved into single figures.
Leask struck back, having Wiese caught at short third man following a leading edge, and Namibia had to wait to begin their celebrations as Frylinck chipped to midwicket with the scores level.
But Smit, who hit the winning runs against Netherlands earlier in the tournament, settled the outcome in style by lofting the first ball of the final over for six as Namibia got their Super 12s stage off to a perfect start.
Scores in brief
- Namibia beat Scotland at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi by four wickets
- Scotland 109 for eight, in 20 overs (Michael Leask 44, Chris Greaves 25; Ruben Trumpelmann 3/17, Jan Frylinck 2/10)
- Namibia 115 for six, in 19.1 overs (JJ Smit 32 not out, Craig Williams 23; Michael Leask 2/12, Brad Wheal 1/14)
- Player of the Match: Ruben Trumpelmann (Namibia)