Namibia head coach Pierre de Bruyn described the prospect of coming up against the likes of India and Pakistan as a ‘dream come true’ for his players, but asserted that his side will be keen to prove that they are no pushovers when they kick-off their Super 12 campaign on October 27.
Namibia entered the T20 World Cup as the least favored Group A side to make it through to the next round, but the Gerhard Erasmus-led side stunned Ireland in Sharjah on Friday to seal their berth in the Super 12 and subsequently also automatically qualify for the next T20 World Cup.
De Bruyn said that he was chuffed for the players, for whom, until yesterday, playing the big guns was a distant dream.
"It's a dream that's come true. These players were six and seven year-old boys, dreaming of playing against teams like India and Pakistan. That dream has come true," Pierre de Bruyn, Namibia's coach said on Friday.
"All they had in the last few years was to watch these guys on TV and dream about it. They will wake up knowing it's real. I am just so pleased for them. I don't think people really know how limited we are. We are not a cricket organisation with a luxury of great resources.
"We didn't mind that [underdog] tag coming in but we had a lot to lose. We didn't accept that we would have nothing to lose because financially it makes a big difference. We can upskill and we can invest a little," de Bruyn said.
“They can also show some of the bigger nations what they are made of. We are going into Group B as the underdogs and those guys will look at us and maybe see us as a pushover. We've shown the cricketing world over the last week that we are not a pushover. We are going to keep on competing, regardless of the results."
The historic feat was enabled by a chase filled with composure, after the bowlers restricted Ireland to 125. Chasing the tricky target, the Namibian top-order bided its time before all-rounder David Wiese played a stunning cameo to take the team over the line.
De Bruyn revealed that his side had a crystal clear game plan heading into the contest, and claimed that Ireland lost the plot after a stellar powerplay which saw them score at nearly 10 runs per over.
"Our planning going into this game was calm. The conditions suit us. That's what we get back home. We had a solid game plan and we made sure we stick with that game plan," the Namibia head coach said.
"It was quite simple: don't leave the stumps, play straight and take it deep. I think where Ireland got it wrong was after that powerplay, a devastating powerplay (Ireland were 55 for 0), the next four overs, they fell asleep. We just knew we had to take it deep, rotate hard, we ran much better between the wickets. The planning was something we discussed and also the opposition analysis."
Namibia has a South African influence not just in the playing group, but also in the coaching staff. Among the support staff is former South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, who is renowned as one of the greatest T20 all-rounders of all time. De Bruyn revealed that Morkel is his good friend, and asserted that he wanted the latter to be with Namibia as he thought the journeyman would be of great help to the players.
"He is a guy I wanted from the start. We've known each other for more than 20 years and his expertise and calmness was something I thought we could use."
Namibia have a four-day break, post which they will take on Scotland in their first Super 12 group game in Abu Dhabi.