Oman v Namibia series: Five key points as teams build to T20 World Cup 2024

Oman vs Namibia T20 2024: 5 Unmissable Highlights!

Oman v Namibia series: Five key points as teams build to T20 World Cup 2024

By Daniel Beswick

The Eagles clinched the decisive fifth T20I by a margin of 62 runs, successfully defending their formidable score of 212/3 in Al Amerat. This was a series where runs were scarce in the preceding four matches.

The Namibian captain once again rose to the occasion, scoring an unbeaten 64 off just 29 balls and bagging a couple of wickets to guide his team to series victory.

As both teams exhibit promising signs ahead of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, here are five crucial takeaways from the preparatory bilateral series.

Captain Erasmus continues to hone his skills

The ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for 2022, who once referred to his part-time off-breaks as “filthy”, has shown in the past year that his bowling will not only be crucial in the upcoming T20 World Cup, but also consistently effective.

In the past year, Erasmus has claimed 24 T20I wickets in 15 bowling innings, with an impressive economy rate of just 4.73. In twelve of these matches, he has faced either other T20 World Cup teams (Uganda and Oman) or Zimbabwe, demonstrating consistency against formidable opposition.

This improvement has transformed Erasmus into a genuine all-rounder, complementing the spin bowling of Bernard Scholtz and others who turn the ball the other way.

Gerhard Erasmus | ICC Men's Associate Cricketer of the Year 2022

New talents emerge in the Sultanate, but 2024 likely marks the end of a golden era

The past decade, highlighted by T20 World Cup qualifications in 2016 and 2021, has been a testament to the efforts of Oman’s modern cricket pioneers. However, many of the players who have featured prominently during this period are either past or nearing 40.

Time necessitates that Oman find new heroes, even if the upcoming T20 World Cup serves as a final hurrah for some. Pratik Athavale, 26, and Kashyap Prajapati, 28, are among the players who have shown potential, while 33-year-old leg-spinner Samay Shrivastava has also made an impact.

Namibia’s squad depth enhanced

Namibia has used the African Games and the recent Oman series to expand their player pool ahead of the T20 World Cup, giving international caps to new faces.

Despite the absence of some key players, new talents like Malan Kruger, Dylan Leicher, and Simon Shikongo have been tested, along with U19 World Cup star Jack Brassell and captain Gerhard Janse van Rensburg.

Perhaps the most significant positive is the return to form of JP Kotze, whose aggressive batting at the top of the order could be a game-changer for Namibia.

WCL 2: Hong Kong v Namibia – Kotze celebrates his 100 in style

Aqib Ilyas’ performance underlines his importance

Aqib Ilyas, who had been sidelined from international cricket for nearly two years due to a rare bone tumour, appears to be returning to his best form.

Ilyas’ half-century in the final T20I gave Oman a fighting chance of chasing down the 213-run target. His consistent starts suggest that he has not lost his touch.

His return should provide stability to Oman’s batting line-up and allow others to play more aggressively.

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Rankings changes could impact Namibia beyond 2024

While the 2024 T20 World Cup is a priority for the Eagles, their losses to Oman, a team ranked lower on the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings, could affect their automatic qualification for the 2026 tournament.

If Namibia fails to secure a top-two spot in their group at the 2024 World Cup, they will likely have to qualify for the 2026 tournament via the Africa Regional Qualifier, a competitive and uncertain route.

Stunning start for Namibia with Sri Lanka upset | Match Highlights | T20WC 2022