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NZ on track for T20 semis with Namibia win

New Zealand remain on track to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals after defeating Namibia convincingly by 52 runs.

The Black Caps moved above Afghanistan into second place in their group behind already-qualified Pakistan with their win on Friday.

If they beat Afghanistan on Sunday, they too will definitely advance into the last four.

Made to bat first, New Zealand were meandering until a dazzling final four overs of hitting from Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham blew up the Namibia battery.

The pair took an unbeaten 67 runs off those ‘death’ overs to post a formidable 4-163 on an awkward pitch.

Phillips made an unbeaten 39 off 21 balls, a knock 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.

“We knew anything above 150 would be good,” Neesham said.

Their partnership made all the difference, since Namibia were on pace with New Zealand after 14 overs.

That, however, was the last over in which the Namibians scored double-digit runs.

Unable to accelerate like Phillips and Neesham under pressure, Namibia lost 4-26 over the last six overs to fall well short at 7-111.

Fine bowling from Tim Southee (2-15) and Trent Boult (2-20) ensured there would be no upset.

Martin Guptill, who’d made a dominant 93 in New Zealand’s victory over Scotland on Wednesday, had earlier 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 and crawled to 43-1 in the powerplay before losing opener Daryl Mitchell.

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.

“We did well for 15, 16 overs in the middle but the death overs didn’t go our way,” Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus said.

“We have got one more game to nail that, against India.

“It was quite a tough pitch – 160 was a bit too much on that pitch today.”

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