The second World Cricket League Championship kicked off today in Windhoek, with hosts Namibia edging out Hong Kong in a closely fought game that went to the final over.
Namibian captain Nicolaas Scholtz won the toss and chose to field first at the Wanderers Cricket Ground. Irfan Ahmed and Roy Lamsam opened for Hong Kong, and whilst Ahmed managed to avoid getting out for a duck, Lamsam couldn't when he was run out for zero in the fourth over.
Ahmed and Nizakat Khan then put on 46 for the second wicket before Khan was out for 20. Irfan Ahmed scored 40 before he was the next man out, and the Hong Kong middle order struggled as the visitors soon found themselves on 103-6 in the 32nd over.
Tanwir Afzal and Haseeb Amjad then put together a partnership of 45 as the lower order fought back for Hong Kong. They were still looking like posting a low score though when they were on 160-9, but the last wicket pairing of Waqas Khan and Nadeem Ahmed scored 34 in the last 4.3 overs to take them to 194-9 from their 50 overs. Nicolaas Scholtz was the pick of the Namibian bowlers with 4-42.
A low target suddenly became a tough one for Namibia as they quickly found themselves on 13-4 in the sixth over, Nadeem Ahmed taking three of the four wickets to fall. Raymond van Schoor and Sarel Burger then put on 57 for the fifth wicket to get the Namibian run chase back on track.
After van Schoor was out for 31, Burger went on to reach his fifty before he was the seventh man out. He put on 51 for that seventh wicket with his captain Nicolaas Scholtz, who scored 40 of his own to get Namibia needing less than 50 from the final ten overs before he was bowled by Nizakat Khan.
Namibia edged closer to their total, led by wicket-keeper JP Kotze. They brought the scores level - with 8 wickets down after 49 overs. Bernard Scholtz was then run out from the first ball of the final over, briefly giving Hong Kong hopes of a tie, but Kotze hit the winning run from the next ball to secure the one wicket win.
Namibia's captain Nicolaas Scholtz was named the man of the match for his all-round display, and he will be looking to lead his team to another win when these two sides meet again on Sunday.
Namibia beat Hong Kong by 1 wickets
Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek, 15 May
Hong Kong 194-9 (50 overs, Irfan Ahmed 40, N Scholtz 4-42)
Namibia 195-9 (49.2 overs, S Burger 52, N Scholtz 40, Nadeem Ahmed 4-27)