New Zealand move one step closer to T20 World Cup last four qualification

Black Caps secure 52-run win in Sharjah after late blitz from Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham

New Zealand batsmen Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham launched a late assault on Namibia that secured an important 52-run win in Sharjah on Friday and improved their chances of reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals from Group II.

The middle-order duo blasted 67 runs in the last four overs to take New Zealand to 163-4 after the team appeared to be in a touch of trouble at 96-4 at the end of the 16th over on a slow wicket as Namibia turned the screws following their decision to bowl first.

Phillips made an unbeaten 39 off 21 balls, a knock under pressure that included a boundary and three sixes, while Neesham stayed with him to the end on 35 from 23 balls with two huge hits over the ropes.

Namibia, who edged Scotland in their Super 12 stage opener before losing to Afghanistan and Pakistan, managed only 111-7 from 20 overs as Tim Southee (2-15) and Trent Boult (2-20) ensured there would be no upset.

Martin Guptill made a dominant 93 in New Zealand's victory over Scotland on Wednesday and the opener picked up from where he left off by hammering Bernard Scholtz for a six in the first over, but fell for 18 trying to lift David Wiese over mid-off.

The Black Caps lost a bit of momentum thereafter and crawled to 43-1 in the powerplay before losing opener Daryl Mitchell and appeared set for a below par total on a challenging wicket that the Namibian bowlers were thriving on.

Skipper Kane Williamson (28) and Devon Conway (17) failed to raise the scoring rate but Phillips and Neesham took the attack to Namibia at the death, switching gears superbly during their fifth-wicket stand of 76 to flatten their opponents.

The Black Caps moved above Afghanistan into second place in their group behind already-qualified Pakistan. Beat Afghanistan on Sunday and they advance, too.

Updated: November 5th 2021, 2:00 PM
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