July 17, 2001

Holland beat Namibia in exciting finish

Latafat Ali Siiddiqui

Holland claimed the ICC Trophy with a thrilling last ball victory by two wicket over Namibia here at the Toronto Cricket Curling and Skating Club Sunday (partly reported in Monday's edition).

Both Holland and Namibia have already qualified for the 2003 World Cup with the third spot for the South frican tournament to be decided when Scotland face hosts Canada in the all-important qualifying final Tuesday.

On Sunday, though, Holland won the battle of the giants in the nerveshattering, fate-fluctuating final. The Dutchmen relied on the batting of Jacob Jan Esmeijer and Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk, who both struck half centuries as Holland reached 196 for eight.

Noortwijk scored exactly 50 with the help of five boundaries before being bowled by B. Kotze, Man-of-the-Match Jacob Jan Esmeijer, who is better known as JJ, cracked unbeaten 58 off 51 balls.

Esmeijer came to the crease when the chips were down. Six wickets had gone with 106 runs on the board and the Namibians had every reason to be hopeful of victory. But JJ changed the whole complexion of the game scoring runs on each and every ball to keep the scoreboard moving. He hit two towering sixes and as many boundaries to help his team to reach victory spot.

"We never thought the fight in the ICC Trophy final will be so tough," Roland Lefebvre, Holland skipper, said after the match.

"At one stag, we needed something very special and JJ certainly gave us something very special," he said. "Towards the end of the game, both teams were under great pressure."

Lefebvre noted the Namibians were more nervous and as a result there were a lot of misfields, a lot of fumbles, a lot of twos which they gave away. "I think we capitalized on that, kept going, and played quite cleverly. JJ hit a couple of big ones but there was a lot of twos and quick singles taken to get us close to the target."