T20 World Cup: Big Phillips-Neesham partnership keeps Black Caps on course for semis

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

New Zealand negotiated a Super 12 win over Namibia with minimal fuss, prevailing by 52 runs to maintain control of their semi-final fate at the T20 World Cup.

The Black Caps came into Friday's match third in Group 2 but crucially two points ahead of India with a superior net run rate.

And although Namibia initially kept the New Zealand batsmen quiet, there was to be no great upset, meaning Kane Williamson's men can book their place in the last four by beating Afghanistan – also still in contention – in their final match.

There may have been some Kiwi nerves when they stumbled to 87-4 through 14 overs having been put in to bat, with captain Williamson a big scalp, bowled for 28 by opposite number Gerhard Erasmus (1-22).

But Glenn Phillips (39 not out) and James Neesham (35 not out) then combined for an unbeaten 76 to reach 163-4 in a devastating finish to the innings, as five sixes across the last four overs included 21 runs off David Wiese in the 18th alone.

The task with the bat then got away from Namibia, who stuck with New Zealand's early run rate but lacked the same acceleration in the closing stages.

Nobody topped opener Michael van Lingen's contribution of 25, fittingly ended by Neesham, as the chase fell well short on 111-7.

Erasmus efforts in vain

Namibia captain Erasmus had bowled only two overs at this World Cup prior to this point but took on a far more prominent role in a bid to slow New Zealand. It was successful as he conceded only 22 runs from his four overs.

However, he then put the ball in the hands of his team-mates in the closing stages of the innings and saw them punished ruthlessly by Phillips and Neesham. In reply, Erasmus could score only three.

Southee stunts chase hopes

Having starred with the bat, Neesham's dismissal of Van Lingen was a big one, ending a stand of 47 for the first wicket. However, Namibia were still in contention deep into their innings due to New Zealand's slow start.

But Tim Southee stepped up in good time to lead the All Blacks comfortably across the finish line. Wiese had averaged 61.7 at this World Cup, the best efforts of any batsman from a non-Test playing nation, but he went lbw to Southee, who also accounted for Zane Smith en route to figures of 2-15 from four overs. He now has wickets in eight straight T20I innings.

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