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Zampa milestone as Australia march into Super Eights

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Ag AFP

NORTH SOUND, Antigua and Barbuda: Australia marched into the Super Eights of the T20 World Cup with a nine-wicket demolition of Namibia at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Tuesday.

Adam Zampa led the rout of an outclassed Namibia with figures of 4-12, becoming the first Australian man to reach 100 T20I wickets.

The southern Africans were bundled out for just 72 off 17 overs after batting first.

With victories under their belt over Oman and arch-rivals England, Australia then sped to the target in just 5.4 overs for the loss of one wicket.

Travis Head finished unbeaten on 34 and captain Mitchell Marsh struck the winning boundary to be 18 not out.

Put in to bat in breezy, drizzly conditions, Namibia were first strangled by the 2021 champions´ efficiency with their new-ball bowlers and some safe catching.

Zampa then took over, the leg-spinner ripping through the lower half of Namibia´s demoralised batting line-up.

His fourth wicket came off the last ball of his four-over spell when he bowled Bernard Scholtz to reach his milestone of 100 wickets in the shortest format.

"I bowled a couple of pies (bad balls) tonight to get a couple wickets but that happens at times," said Zampa after receiving the Man of the Match award.

"I´ve been feeling really good and encouraged by the captain to take wickets through those middle overs. It is a bit of a challenge here in the Caribbean but it´s something you have to cope with for sure.

"This is the first step in trying to take the trophy home, but there is a long way to go," he added.

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus, who needed 17 deliveries to get off the mark, top-scored with 36 off 43 balls (four fours, one six) before being ninth out, the second wicket for Marcus Stoinis.

Stoinis shared the new ball with Josh Hazlewood, the senior seamer also picking up two wickets.

"You cannot sit back against the best in the world. The gap in skill is there but you can sort of close that by fighting fire with fire," said Erasmus in the aftermath of the chastening loss.

"We did not do that tonight. A good side like Australia will expose you if you are not willing to mentally step up to this level on a particular day."

The comprehensive win throws an interesting light over Australia´s final group match.

They face Scotland, who are currently second in the group and poised to eliminate title-holders England if they beat the rampant Aussies on Saturday in St Lucia.

"It´s going to get pretty busy after our match against Scotland so we´ll manage as many people as we can over the next few days," said Marsh, hinting at the possibility of resting a couple of players.

The captain was full of praise for his premier spinner Zampa.

"If you look at his career over the last four or five years, he´s probably our most important player," said Marsh.

"He loves the big moment, loves the pressure. I think that all comes with experience and he´s bowling beautifully at the moment."