Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie expressed disbelief and disappointment over his side crashing out in the first round of the 2021 T20 World Cup, and labelled the premature exit as a ‘tough one to swallow’.
The Irish, after losing their second group game against Sri Lanka, needed to beat Namibia to progress to the Super 12, but a stunning, spirited showing from the Gerhard Erasmus-led side saw Namibia complete a remarkable eight-wicket victory.
A devastated Balbirnie admitted that his team was outplayed.
“It hurts a lot. A really tough one to take,” Balbirnie said after the game.
“There are a lot of good cricketers in there that deserved to see the next round but it wasn't to be and that's the way it goes.
“We wanted runs on the board, we probably didn't get enough, we wanted more than that after the start we got. But yeah, that's gonna take a while to go away. We have worked hard to get to this point. I thought we played pretty well but they outplayed us on the day.”
The Ireland skipper further claimed that experienced campaigner David Wiese’s cameo made the difference in the second innings. Chasing 126, Namibia needed 49 off 6 overs and the task looked an uphill one on a sluggish Sharjah wicket. But Wiese, fresh off a fifty against Netherlands, smashed an unbeaten 14-ball 28 to take the associate nation over the line.
“Wiese came in and played a brilliant hand, the rate was nearly at 8-8.5 and their skipper played a brilliant knock to see his side through,” Balbirnie said.
Wiese, meanwhile, who was named Man of the Match, said that the real star of the game was skipper Erasmus, who struck an unbeaten fifty to take Namibia over the line.
“It’s completely overwhelming. I didn’t think I would get this award after the way Erasmus’ batted. It was a proper captain’s innings. I'm accepting this but I think it belongs to him. Lot of hard work has gone into this from the boys. There were a few minor blips but overall, it was a strong performance.”
Namibia will now move to ‘Group 2’ in the Super 12, alongside India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, New Zealand and Scotland.