World T20: Black Caps strengthen semi-final hopes with 52-run win over Namibia

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New Zealand strengthened their chances of reaching the Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals and eliminated Namibia with a 52-run win in Sharjah.

The Black Caps are now second in Group Two and will go through with victory over Afghanistan in their final group game on Sunday.

After an underwhelming start, a superb unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 76 off 36 balls between Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham carried the Kiwis to an imposing total of 163-4.

Namibia started well before losing three wickets for just eight runs and, after key man David Wiese fell in the 15th over, they subsided to 111-7 off their 20 overs.

New Zealand are now two points clear of Afghanistan but their net run-rate, which determines who progresses if multiple teams finish equal on the same points, remains lower.

It means New Zealand must beat Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.

India are still in contention, but must secure a big win over Scotland in Dubai later on Friday, hope Afghanistan beat New Zealand and then also heavily beat Namibia on Monday.

Clinical Kiwis complete their task

New Zealand came into the game with their fate already in their own hands, knowing two straight wins would see them join Pakistan in the semi-finals.

At 87-4 off 14 overs, having just lost captain Kane Williamson and Devon Conway in quick succession, they were at risk of posting a sub-par total.

But Phillips, who made 39 not out off 21 balls, and Neesham, who hit an unbeaten 35 off 23 balls, held their nerve, taking two overs to play themselves in before their counter-attack.

They clattered 67 off the last four overs, including five sixes, to set Namibia a higher total than they have ever made against a top-tier nation in T20 internationals.

Namibia openers Stephan Baard and Michael van Lingen made a promising opening stand of 47 but New Zealand’s versatile bowling unit proved too strong.

Fast bowlers Tim Southee, who removed Wiese plumb lbw, and Trent Boult took 2-15 and 2-20 respectively, while spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi limited the scoring again.

And while they could not ultimately overhaul Afghanistan’s superior net run-rate, the Black Caps were impressively clinical in only allowing Namibia 26 runs off the last six overs. (BBC Sport)

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