A century by Matthew Breetzke was not enough for the South Africa Emerging Men’s team as they went down by 19 runs in an entertaining series decider against Namibia in Windhoek on Saturday.
The right-hander was in excellent form, striking three sixes and eight fours in a 127-ball 114, which helped the visitors end on 319 for nine in a high-scoring chase of 339 at the Wanderers.
There was also an attacking half-century by Delano Potgieter (52 off 54 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) and an even more explosive 63 off 41 balls (7 fours, 2 sixes) by Jason Smith that took the tourists close – although it was still in vain after a powerful batting display by the home side.
Craig Williams was their stand-out batsman after he plundered 11 sixes in an unbeaten 139 off 119 balls (5 fours), with the dangerous JJ Smit thumping 61 off 48 balls (3 fours, 4 sixes).
Their performances ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides, with the Namibians going on to take the series 2-1. The Eagles also won the T20 series by the same margin.
The host won the toss and batted first in match three, with Stephan Baard (33) and Zane Green (26) again getting them off to a good start.
After both fell to Tshepo Ntuli (2/37) and then captain Gerhard Erasmus followed for 20, Williams and Smit dominated.
The pair put on 139 for the fourth wicket, with Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton (23*) then helping the centurion deliver a flying finish thanks to an unbeaten 87 in the last 6.1 overs.
Also helped by 36 extras, Namibia eventually finished on 338 for four.
Grant Roelofsen (26) and Breetzke gave the SA Emerging team a bright start to the reply with 61 for the first wicket, but four quick wickets thereafter left Malibongwe Maketa’s team in trouble on 98 for four.
But Breetzke kept going, and, after finding a foil in Potgieter, added 85 for the fifth wicket.
The latter then fell with the score on 183, before the former followed when the score was 224.
Dayyaan Galiem’s dismissal for six looked like it had ended the clash as a contest, but Smith and Bryce Parsons (32) then combined for a 77-run partnership to bring the equation down to 30 from the last two overs.
However, that was when the stand was broken, effectively settling the tie as the visitors finished short.