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Berrington anchors Scotland to T20 World Cup win over Namibia

Scotland captain Richie Berrington (right) is congratulated by team-mate Chris Greaves after clinching victory over Namibia (Randy Brooks)
Scotland captain Richie Berrington (right) is congratulated by team-mate Chris Greaves after clinching victory over Namibia (Randy Brooks)

Captain Richie Berrington upstaged his Namibian counterpart in leading Scotland to a table-topping, five-wicket victory in Group B at the T20 World Cup on Thursday at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Thwarted by the weather in their opening fixture against England two days earlier at the same venue, Berrington's composed unbeaten 47 off 36 balls (two fours, three sixes) and the timely support of the aggressive Michael Leask (35 off 17 balls, four sixes) paced the Scots to a winning total of 157 for five with nine balls to spare.

Their combined effort in a fifth-wicket partnership of 74 rendered Gerhard Erasmus' all-round contribution in vain after the Namibian captain had topscored with 52 out of a total of 155 for nine, followed by figures of two for 29 off four overs as Scotland wobbled at 73 for four in the 11th over.

This was Scotland's first-ever victory over Namibia in a T20 International and lifts them to the head of the standings on three points from two games in a group that also includes the defending champions England and 2021 winners Australia.

"I don't think we'll get over this for a while. It's a hell of a feeling," said an elated Leask after receiving the 'Player of the Match' award.

"Given the last time we played them they had us three down in the first over, this feels special."

Leask's task in providing the necessary spark to the Scotland scoring rate is something he has become used to.

"My role is simple: hit the ball hard, try and find gaps, and if it's in the slot, try and hit it out of the ground," he said.

For Erasmus it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow given his overall contribution.

He may have forgotten about the inclusion of J.P. Kotze at the top of the order for this match during the toss, but the captain was well aware of his role when coming to the crease in the fourth over with his side in trouble at 19 for two following the decision to bat first.

"It's nice to contribute all-round but obviously feels better when you’ve won, so we have to regroup from this and come back again stronger," Erasmus said.

Erasmus' innings off 31 balls (five fours, two sixes) got his team back on course for a competitive total over the next ten overs before he fell stumped off the bowling of Leask.

Scotland though were indebted to the two seam-bowling Brads – Wheal and Currie – for pulling Namibia back from a total that looked as if it would get closer to 170, especially with David Wiese, their super over hero from the opening match victory over Oman, at the crease.

Wheal, who dispensed with Kotze in the first over of the match, returned to dismiss Wiese and wicketkeeper-batsman Zane Green (28), finishing with the best figures of three for 33.

Currie (two for 16), who opened the bowling with Wheal, was also back on at the end to ensure the Namibians were kept in check as four wickets tumbled in the final two overs.

str/rcw