T20 World Cup: New Zealand stay on course for semi-finals with win over Namibia

    The 52-run win over Namibia helped New Zealand jump to the second spot in the standings and the Kane Williamson-led side now have six points with a net run rate of +1.277.

    Glenn Philips and Jimmy Neesham’s game changing partnership on a tricky surface helped New Zealand beat Namibia by 52 runs in a Super 12 game here on Friday and stay on course for a semifinal berth in the T20 World Cup.

    Courtesy some late-hitting by Phillips (39 not out off 21 balls) and Neesham (35 not out off 23 balls), New Zealand posted 163 for four and then restricted the opposition to 111/7 to complete a convincing win. Tim Southee (2/15), Trent Boult (2/20), Mitchell Santner (1/20), Ish Sodhi (1/22) and Jimmy Neesham (1/6) shared the wickets.

    The win also meant that Kiwis jumped to the second spot in the standings and now have six points with a net run rate of +1.277. They play Afghanistan on Sunday in what could be a virtual quarterfinal. Chasing 164, Namibia openers Stephen Baard (21) and Michael van Lingen (25) conjured 47-runs for the opening wicket. But New Zealand sent back both the openers, first Neesham cleaned up Lingen in the eight over and then 29-year-old slow left-arm orthodox bowler Santner castled Baard with Namibia slipping to 51/2.

    Leggie Sodhi removed rival skipper Gerhard Erasmus (3) cheaply to put tighten the screws on Namibia. Zane Green (23) and David Wiese (16) only delayed the inevitable and experienced pacer Southee trapped the latter in front in the 15th over to dash the remaining opposition hopes. Earlier, Phillips and Neesham took the Namibian attack to the cleaners and propelled New Zealand past 150 which looked unlikely at one stage.

    New Zealand were struggling at 87/4, but brutal hitting by Phillips and Neesham ensured that the Kiwis were back in the game. The duo added 76 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket in just 36 balls. While Phillips hammered one four and three sixes, Neesham struck one boundary and two maximums. Courtesy Phillips and Neesham, Kiwis amassed 53 runs in the last three overs.

    Asked to bat, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill (18) fell in the fifth over, after offering a simple catch to Ruben Trumpelmann off David Wiese (1/40). Guptill launched into left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz (1/15), hitting him for a maximum over long-on. In the fourth over, Daryl Mitchell (19) got his first boundary, straight down the ground off Johannes Smit, as the Kiwis raced to 30/0 after four overs.

    But Namibia pegged the Kiwis back by sending both the openers to the dressing room. First Wiese broke the 30-run opening stand by dismissing Guptill and then Scholtz dismissed Mitchell, who was caught in the deep by Michael van Lingen in the seventh over, as the Kiwis slipped to 43/2. Skipper Kane Williamson (28) and Devon Conway (17) then tried to rally the innings with their 38-run stand. Williamson opened his arms in the 11th over, hammering a maximum and a four on successive balls off leg-spinner Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton.

    But Williamson was cleaned up by rival captain and leg-spinner Gerhard Erasmus (1/22) in the 13th over with New Zealand reaching 81/3. It soon became 87/4 as Conway was also run-out. After a slow start, it was the Phillips and Neesham show as they upped the ante from the 18th over, when they launched into Wiese, collecting 21 runs off it.

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