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T20 World Cup 2021 | We exceeded expectations and won lot of hearts, says Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn

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Namibia's last major ICC tournament participation was at the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa

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T20 World Cup 2021 | We exceeded expectations and won lot of hearts, says Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn

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SportsCafe Desk

11/08/2021

Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn looked back at his team's T20 World Cup 2021 campaign with pride, and believed that they exceeded expectations and won a lot of hearts. Namibia will take on India in their last Super 12s clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday, November 8.

Participating in their first ever T20 World Cup campaign, Namibia put on some fine individual and collective performances which caught attention of the cricketing fraternity. After a seven-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in their first Round 1 fixture, the Gerhard Erasmus-led side aced their run-chases against Netherlands and the higher-ranked Ireland to storm into the Super 12s.

They registered a four-wicket win over Scotland in their first Super 12s fixture, and showed flashes of brilliance during defeats to Afghanistan, Pakistan and New Zealand. Coach Pierre de Bruyn reflected on an impressive campaign, during which, he felt his team exceeded expectations.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us," de Bruyn said. "We came here with expectations but I think we exceeded that and with that the pressure mounted and these players have really announced themselves. We thought it was a cricket Namibia story for our country but it's become a global story where we've inspired not just our kids back home but globally we have won a lot of hearts.

"We have played 40-overs cricket in this group, we have not been blown away by any team in 10 overs or 12 overs or anything like that. We've been willing to stretch the game and give ourselves a good chance against these top oppositions. Tomorrow's a classic game where you go in and you need to hold your own, you need to take brutal accountability for what you're going to bring to the team. It's the last little push. It's been a long tour and it's been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.

"Facing the best in the world can be overwhelming and it's all about staying composed and this team, especially with the ball, has shown that they are willing to hold on and compete like we showed in the game against New Zealand - they were 94 for 4 after 16 overs - so the learnings for us is that we're going to treasure that, we're going to hold on hard to that because these lessons - good or bad - are only going to make you a better team and they're to make you a better player."

The 44-year-old further added that his team is relishing it’s chance to play against India, and will do everything to execute their plans well. The two teams will face off in the final Super 12s fixture in Dubai on Monday.

"As players, you always look to plan ahead of a game like that," de Bruyn said. "We know upfront with the bat how they play. If you're not going to execute your plans or execute your skills you know they are going to punish you. That's a guarantee. We want to finish the campaign on a high. It's been 45 days in the bubble. There are no excuses. Tomorrow's a platform for any player to face the best in the world.

"We've got to execute our plans at the death in a more brave way. We've got plans, we've got best plans. We've got skills. To hit a yorker we've trained for two years. I think the bowlers just need to go back tomorrow to that area. It's an area where you're going to be under the pump. When the batters come at you, they're not going to let go. I think tomorrow a big goal is to make sure in the death we execute our plans and skills with confidence."

de Bruyn praised the bowling unit comprising Ruben Trumpelmann, Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and David Wiese, who have excelled in the competition thus far. Namibia have conceded runs at an average rate of 5.91 during the first six overs throughout the competition.

"Ruben has really worked hard from a physical point of view. He's definitely got some more ball speed. We're going to work on that, we're busy working on that physically," de Bruyn said. "And I feel that against an Indian team - Rohit Sharma, those type of batters, obviously there's going to be nerves. But don't change what's been working for you.

"Frylinck was always in the background doing the grubby work. He relies on skill. He's our little street fighter. He will come and clean up if there's been a big over. He backs himself in the death. Our bowling attack with the experience of David Wiese, and with the new ball you can get it to swing, against India the first two-three overs are going to be critical for us. We've shown that against Pakistan. We had Pakistan in the powerplay at 29 for no loss. We are capable of using that new ball with what we have in our bowling attack."

Namibia's performance was admired and acknowledged by their opponents in the competition. The Pakistan team provided words of motivation with a dressing room visit in Abu Dhabi last week. de Bruyn said that the bigger teams made Namibia feel like "they belonged" in the tournament.

"On and off the field we respect the opposition and we respect the game," he said. "I think that's why the opposition respects us. They have all reached out not just on the field but at the hotels. The Proteas have been amazing support for us. We shared the same hotel for a long period of time. We've got 16-17 players in our national team we've picked from. And what these guys have put in and what they have done in this World Cup for me is incredible but we also want to show the cricket world that a small nation, an associate country we also belong. That's what New Zealand has showed us the other night and the Pakistan team…it makes you feel that you belong and you are allowed to compete with these teams.

"I want to thank these teams for reaching out to associate teams. They just need that little bit of comfort and feeling wanted. We certainly felt that."

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