Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton slams after loss to Namibia in Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier

Namibia romped home to a seven-wicket win with 32 balls to spare after restricting Zimbabwe to 132 for 8 at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek. Performances in this tournament are crucial because the top two teams are the only ones who go through to the T20 World Cup in 2024.

“When you ask what went wrong, as far as I am concerned, we got everything wrong,” Houghton said. “We were awful today, embarrassingly bad. It’s probably one of the worst games that I have ever been associated with in a Zimbabwean jersey.

“Why it happens, I have absolutely no idea. We train hard, we train with specifics. The guys worked really hard, they had enough energy coming into this game, but we batted poorly and followed that up by bowling poorly and our fielding was average.”

After being asked to bat first, Zimbabwe found themselves 18 for 3 before Craig Ervine and captain Sikandar Raza added 55 for the fourth wicket. But after they fell within six runs of each other, Zimbabwe found themselves at 99 for 6 in the 15th over. It was hard work even getting to 132 with Namibia’s left-arm seamers JJ Smit and Tangeni Lungameni sharing five wickets between them.

“When you are not playing particularly well and when you have lost a little bit of confidence as we have, we see demons in the wicket when we bat, but when we bowl there are no demons in the wicket,” Houghton said. “So, I looked at that wicket and it looks a good batting strip and I would have thought we would score 170-180 comfortably.

“We gave a lot of wickets away, we were not batting positively, we are batting recklessly at the moment. I thought it was really a good batting wicket and they proved it when they chased.”

Namibia were helped by an explosive start, with openers Michael van Lingen and Nikolaas Davin adding 88 runs in just 48 balls. From there the game had become academic.

“It’s a terrible start to this tournament, but we do know we’ve got to win the next five games and still qualify,” Houghton said. “That’s important for us, but not my best day and certainly not my happiest day. In fact, I feel like we should be all out here apologising to our fans.”

“We can’t dwell on these losses. It’s important they recognise how bad a loss that was – which is what I have just given them in the changeroom – but it is a quick turnaround and that’s a good thing we can put it all right tomorrow afternoon and get ourselves on the board with a win and then start our march towards qualifying.

“We can’t sort of rest on our laurels and think we are a bigger side than the rest. We’ve got to turn up and play proper cricket.”

The other teams in the Qualifier are Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe’s opponents on Thursday, Tanzania. All of them play one another in a round-robin format in a race to collect the most points and make it to the next Men’s T20 World Cup.

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