CRICKET: Stubborn last-wicket stand frustrates Ireland in Windhoek

Tim Murtagh claimed two wickets
Tim Murtagh claimed two wickets

Ireland will be the happier of the two teams despite a stubborn last wicket stand after the first day’s play of their InterContinental Cup clash against Namibia in Windhoek.

Namibia finished the day on 250 for 9 – with number 11 Christopher Coombe’s unbeaten 34 chiefly responsible for holding up Ireland’s charge in the final hour of the day. Together with Bernard Scholtz (16*) the pair added an unbroken 48 after the hosts had been reduced to 202 for 9.

It was a steady bowling display by Ireland who stuck to their task well after losing the toss. Seamers Tim Murtagh (2-43), John Mooney (2-55), Kevin O’Brien (1-21), and Craig Young (1-63) took wickets at regular intervals to leave Namibia struggling on 82 for 5.

JP Kotze held the middle order together with a top score of 78 (152 balls, 11 fours), sharing half century stands with the experienced Gerrie Synman (22) and keeper Zane Green (28).

George Dockrell and Paul Stirling applied pressure, strangling the Namibian innings bowling a combined total of 37 overs for 63 runs. Indeed Stirling (1-13) at one stage had bowled seven consecutive maidens while taking the crucial wicket of Kotze.

Dockrell dismissed the obdurate Green to claim his 200th wicket for Ireland in all competitions – the 8th player to do so – and shortly after claimed the wicket of Smit to put his side well on top.

Namibia’s late fightback will give them hope of staying in contention, but Ireland will be confident of building a strong lead when play resumes in Windhoek on Sunday.

ICC Intercontinental Cup,

At Windhoek Country Club,

Day 1 of 4,

NAMIBIA 250/9 (96 overs, JP Kotze 78, C Coombe 34*, X Pitchers 31, Z Green 28, G Snyman 22, S Baard 21, T Murtagh 2-43, G Dockrell 2-50, J Mooney 2-55)