ZC

Promising batsman Trent Schadendorf scored a marvelous century but agonisingly ended up on the losing side as the Zimbabwe Under-19s went down by two wickets to their Namibia counterparts in a thrilling 50-over match played today at the Centre for Cricket Development Ground in Windhoek. The tourists, who won the toss and opted to bat first, posted a competitive 286 for nine, with Schadendorf s knock of 114 off 130 balls and including three sixes and 10 fours easily standing out as the highlight of the innings, if not the match.

But the Namibia Under-19s were apparently unfazed by the seemingly daunting target, mounting a spirited chase that saw them winning the ODI off the very last delivery of the match.Their unlikely hero was tail-ender Ben Shikongo who got the better of Milton Shumba, entrusted with the final over, to score the two runs the home side needed to seal the sensational victory.

Namibia s chase got off to a solid start, with the impressive Albert van der Merwe sharing a 98-run partnership for the first wicket with Jurgen Linde. The stand was broken after 16.4 overs when Jonathan Connolly had Linde caught by Schadendorf for 35, a knock that came off 49 balls and contained one six and two boundaries.

The Zimbabweans had to toil for nine more overs until they got their second scalp and this time it was the prized wicket of van der Merwe who was run out for 77. He faced 70 deliveries, hitting two sixes and seven fours, and his departure left the scoreboard reading 151 for two.

The tourists seemed to have seized the initiative when they dismissed Eben van Wyk (10) and Shaun Fouche (39) in the space of three balls, reducing Namibia to 176 for four after 31.4 overs. But Nicol Loftie-Eaton s 47-run knock, together with vital contributions of 22 and 20 from Lohan Louwrens and Petrus Burger respectively, guaranteed an edge-of-the-seat end to the match.

The Namibians required 20 from the final 12 balls and they got half of that off the 49th over bowled by Declan Oldreive, setting up a nerve-jangling finale. The match almost went Zimbabwe s way when they ran out Burger, with the dismissal immediately followed by a dot ball that left the hosts needing one to tie and two to win the match off the final delivery. Shikongo however held his nerves to get two runs off Shumba s bowling that sealed a sweet victory for the Namibia Under-19 side.

This, sadly, stole Schadendorf s thunder, with his magnificent century now cruelly reduced to a mere footnote of a match that Zimbabwe should have won. Apart from the opener s heroics, the only other notable batting performances from Zimbabwe were by Alistair Frost (43) and Liam Roche (37). Connolly was Zimbabwe s most successful bowler, although his three wickets came at an expensive 76 runs off his 10 overs.

After the disappointing loss, Stephen Mangongo s charges will now look to bounce back in their next ODI against the Namibians scheduled for this Sunday at Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek.