New Zealand on track for last four with facile win over Namibia
SHARJAH: New Zealand defeated Namibia by 52 runs on Friday to move closer to the T20 World Cup semi-finals and leave title favourites India facing a desperate battle to survive.
Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham plundered 67 runs off the last four overs as New Zealand made 163-4 after being put into bat.
In reply, Namibia were well set at 47-0 in the eighth over before they faded to 111-7.
New Zealand have six points, two ahead of Afghanistan and four in front of India who must win both their remaining games, and improve their run rate, to have any chance of making the semi-finals.
Pakistan have already booked their place in the last four from Group 2.
“We knew what to expect here, it was a real scrap,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Phillips hit an undefeated 39 off 21 balls with one four and three sixes while man-of-the-match Neesham made 35 from 23 deliveries with a boundary and two sixes.
The Black Caps, who face fellow semi-final hopefuls Afghanistan on Sunday, were struggling at 96-4 off 16 overs after being put into bat by Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.
But Namibia lost their discipline with 21 coming off the 18th over bowled by David Wiese and 18 taken from a wild 10-ball final over from JJ Smit.
Namibia had limited New Zealand to 62-2 at the halfway point after winning the toss and electing to field.
One of the early wickets to fall was opener Martin Guptill who had smashed 93 in the 16-run win over Scotland last time out.
Neesham admitted he was able to shrug off the fact that millions of India fans were backing Namibia to win.
“Somewhere between zero and one percent,” he said when asked how aware he was of the wishes of desperate Indian fans.
“We are pretty good as a unit at keeping what’s necessary to concentrate on in the front of our minds.”
Namibia saw openers Michael van Lingen (25) and Stephan Baard (21) make a steady start, helping their team reach 56-3 at the midway point.
But experienced seamers Tim Southee (2-15) and Trent Boult (2-20) applied the brakes as Namibia were only able to add 55 more runs off the last 10 overs.
“Afghanistan are a really, really strong side,” added Williamson of their next opponents who are still in the hunt for a semi-final place.
“They have done so well in this tournament and have got match-winners throughout their side. So we are looking forward to playing them.”
Namibia have one win in the Super 12s courtesy of beating Scotland.
They bring the curtain down on the group stage on Monday when they tackle India.
“We did well for 15-16 overs in the middle today but the death overs didn’t go our way,” said captain Gerhard Erasmus.
“We have got one more game to nail against India.
“It was quite a tough pitch, 160 was a bit too much today.”
Meanwhile, Neesham said star spinner Ish Sodhi was unhurt despite taking a fierce drive from David Wiese to the head as he attempted a caught and bowled.
“Ish is a pretty tough customer. Obviously with the concussion protocols, I assume he’ll be monitored but we are expecting him to be fine [to play in the Afghanistan game],” said Neesham.
M. Guptill c Trumpelmann b Wiese 18
D. Mitchell c van Lingen b Scholtz 19
K. Williamson b Erasmus 28
D. Conway run out 17
G. Phillips not out 39
J. Neesham not out 35
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-6) 7
TOTAL (for four wickets, 20 overs) 163
DID NOT BAT: M. Santner, A. Milne, T. Southee, I.Sodhi, T. Boult
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-30 (Guptill), 2-43 (Mitchell), 3-81 (Williamson), 4-87 (Conway)
BOWLING: Scholtz 3-0-15-1; Trumpelmann 3-0-25-0; Wiese
4-0-40-1; Smit 2-0-27-0 (4w);
Loftie-Eaton 2-0-24-0; Erasmus 4-0-22-1 (1w); Birkenstock 2-0-9-0
S. Baard b Santner 21
M. van Lingen b Neesham 25
G. Erasmus c Conway b Sodhi 3
Z. Green c Boult b Southee 23
D. Wiese lbw b Southee 16
J. Smit not out 9
J. Loftie-Eaton c Guptill b Boult 0
C. Williams c Phillips b Boult 0
R. Trumpelmann not out 6
EXTRAS (LB-3, W-5) 8
TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 111
DID NOT BAT: K. Birkenstock, B. Scholtz
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-47 (van Lingen), 2-51 (Baard), 3-55 (Erasmus), 4-86 (Wiese), 5-102 (Green), 6-103 (Loftie-Eaton), 7-105 (Williams)
BOWLING: Southee 4-0-15-2; Boult 4-0-20-2 (3w); Milne 4-0-25-0; Santner 4-0-20-1; Neesham 1-0-6-1; Sodhi 3-0-22-1 (2w)
RESULT: New Zealand won by 52 runs.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: James Neesham
UMPIRES: Paul Reiffel, Paul Wilson (both Australia)
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Bangladesh)
MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2021