St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Tournaments St George's Park - England vs Namibia
England vs Namibia
Alvin Reeves

England's cricketers were forced to build up a steady sweat before finally disposing of Namibia in their ICC World Cup Group A match at St George's Park on Wednesday, February 19, 2003.

Chasing a target of 273, Namibia, in the form of 21 year old Stellenbosch student Jan-Berry OB) Burger, provided some nervous moments for the favoured English outfit with a whirlwind batting display.

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When the dust had settled Namibia had only mustered 217 for nine - 55 runs short despite a courageous 85 from JB Burger.

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This fixture was one which should have been a mere formality for England but instead some serious questions were asked of their bowling attack.

Granted, the pitch was not one that was conducive to seam bowling and the ball 85 did tend to sit up at times and beg to be hit. But England were playing against a bunch of amateur cricketers in only their second one day international ever.

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Namibia said before the game that if England were not completely focused they felt they would be in the game- And that was the case. Well, for a while at least.

Opening batsman JB Burger, who is built like a blacksmith, made the cricketing world sit forward in their armchairs as he bludgeoned the England attack to all parts of St George's Park. He made England's bowlers look mediocre as he cut, drove and pulled ferociously.

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If anyone deserved three figures in the match it was JB Burger. Unfortunately that was a bridge too far and he was dismissed for a run-a ball 85. It was a case of one cheeky shot too many as he attempted to force Craig White off the back foot managing only to loop the ball to cover where Paul Collingwood took a fine diving catch.

The remainder of the Namibian batting crumbled under the pressure except for a fighting 46 from Danie Keulder. He was involved in a 97-run partnership with JB Burger for the third wicket.

While they embarrassed the English attack, the Namibians must have thought they were in with a chance of an unlikely upset. But it was not to be.

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However Namibia will take heart from this performance after being written off as no-hopers.

After being asked to bat, England's total of 272 all out was built around solid contributions from captain Alee Stewart who top-scored with 60, and opener Marcus Trescothick who carved his way to 58.

Both players, though, will be disappointed at not having followed through to three figures after having done all the hard work.

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Trescothick, after hitting legspinner JB Burger for a six and a four in the two previous deliveries, attempted to sweep only to find a top edge". He was caught by Louis Burger at short fine leg after facing 66 balls with eight fours and a six.

Stewart attempted to slog sweep captain and offspinner Deon Kotze only to find the safe hands of Kotze's brother Deon, on the deep square fence. The wicketkeeper hit six fours and a six in his 77-ball innings.

When Stewart departed, England were still left with some work to do at 159 for four in the 52nd over.

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But valuable contributions from Paul Collingwood (58 off 49 balls) and Craig White (35 off 29 balls) enabled them to reach a respectable total.

Namibia, though, would have been happy with the fact that they were able to claim all 10 of the English wickets.

Opening bowler Rudie van Vuuren, who has also played World Cup rugby for Namibia, took five wickets for 43 in his 10 overs and bowled Andrew Caddick off the last ball of the innings.

Van Vuuren also made the initial breakthroughs when Nick Knight and Michael Vaughan contrived to dismiss themselves with silly shot-selection. Van Vuuren's first spell, of 6-2-10-2, made for impressive reading.

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Good ball Domino, Namibian batsmen JB Burger with his teammates at Port Elizabeth's Bayworld before their match against England..

Both Knight and Vaughan were snatched up by Louis Burger who equalled the World Cup record for the most catches by a fielder with three. A total of 11 players had previously managed that feat in the history of the World Cup.

Namibian captain and off-spinner Deon Kotze bowled economically to collect one for 35 in 10 overs-England captain Nasser Hussain missed the match because of a stiff neck which developed overnight. Stewart took over the captaincy.

Eastern Province Herald
February 20, 2003.

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