Cricket-Namibia stun Ireland to make Super 12 of T20 World Cup

Cricket - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 - Round 1 - Group A - Namibia v Ireland - Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - October 22, 2021 Namibia's Gerhard Erasmus celebrates winning the match with teammates REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

DUBAI (Reuters) -Minnows Namibia pulled off an upset in their final Twenty20 World Cup preliminary round match, stunning test playing nation Ireland to advance to the Super 12 stage on Friday.

Captain Gerhard Erasmus' unbeaten half-century and David Wiese's all-round brilliance secured Namibia's memorable eight-wicket victory with nine balls to spare in Sharjah.

"I said in the press conference that we run a tight ship," an emotional Erasmus said after the win.

"It's a small country, and a small number of people play cricket. We should be proud of ourselves."

Opting to bat, Ireland got a decent start from Paul Stirling (38) and Kevin O'Brien (25) but could not capitalise on it.

Even after the openers fell, they were cruising at 71-2 at the halfway mark of their innings with captain Andy Balbirnie in the middle.

Balbirnie could not accelerate his strike rate though and was trapped lbw by Jan Frylinck (3-21) after making 21 off 28 balls.

None of the subsequent batsmen managed to reach double digits and Ireland eventually settled for a below-par 125-8.

Namibia began well and by the time Curtis Campher removed the openers, the associate nation were on course for victory.

Erasmus led by example with an unbeaten 53, while man-of-the-match Wiese remained not out on 28, sealing the victory with his second boundary.

"We didn't get enough runs," a dejected Balbirnie said after they crashed out of the tournament.

"It will be hard to get over it, and it hurts a lot."

Former champions Sri Lanka, who had already secured their Super 12 place from Group A, routed Netherlands by eight wickets in a one-sided contest that lasted only 17.1 overs.

Lahiru Kumara (3-7), Wanindu Hasaranga (3-9) and Maheesh Theekshana (2-3) combined to skittle out the Dutch side for 44 in 10 overs.

Sri Lanka lost two wickets before chasing down the paltry target in 7.1 overs to finish their preliminary round campaign with three wins in as many matches.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Dubai; editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)

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