New Zealand moved above Afghanistan into second spot in Group 2 following a 52-run win over a spirited Namibia in Sharjah.
Namibia’s tidy start with the ball was undone as Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham bludgeoned 67 in a decisive final four overs, finishing unbeaten on 39 and 35 respectively. The Black Caps bowlers then kept their discipline to see their side home and leave them well placed to seal the second qualifying spot from Group 2 in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Put in, New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell added 30 before Guptill was sent packing by David Wiese. Mitchell followed his partner back to the pavilion just after the powerplay as he misjudged a delivery from Bernard Scholtz and skied to Michael van Lingen at cover. At the halfway stage of their innings, the Blackcaps were 62-2. Kane Williamson’s side was further restricted by Karl Birkenstock, whose two overs cost just nine, and New Zealand were 81-3 when the Black Caps skipper chopped on against his opposite number Gerhard Erasmus for 28.
Birkenstock and Erasmus then combined to dismiss Devon Conway, Erasmus with a pin-point accurate throw to the non-striker’s end where Birkenstock whipped off the bails in the nick of time. Erasmus’s good work was then slightly undone as he conceded 14 off his final over, ending with figures of 1-22. It was the same story for the usually tidy David Wiese, JJ Smit and Trumpelmann as New Zealand accelerated at the death to end on 163-4, Neesham and Phillips putting on 76 for the fifth wicket.
In reply, Namibia started steadily as openers Stephan Baard and van Lingen went at a run a ball through the powerplay but just as van Lingen looked to be getting settled, Neesham bowled him for 25. Baard went in the next over, bowled by Mitchell Santner, before Ish Sodhi got the key wicket of Gerhard Erasmus as Namibia fell to 56-3 at the halfway mark.
Wiese and Zane Green then batted well together. But Wiese (16) could do no more damage and was trapped lbw by Tim Southee. While New Zealand had accelerated in the 17th over, Namibia stuttered as Trent Boult and Southee then bowled brilliantly as Namibia finished on 111-7 to see New Zealand move to second.
Meanwhile, India outclassed Scotland and in doing so also bolstered their hopes of staying alive in the 2021 T20 World Cup. It was a night to remember for birthday boy Virat Kohli as everything went according to his plan. First, he won the toss, then he watched as Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami bowled the opposition out for 85. KL Rahul whacked 50 of those runs all by himself and ensured victory with 13.3 overs and eight wickets to spare.
BRIEF SCORES
NEW ZEALAND 163/4 in 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 39; Jimmy Neesham 35; Bernard Scholtz 1/15, Gerhard Erasmus 1/22) beat NAMIBIA 111/7 in 20 overs (Michael van Lingen 25, Zane Green 23; Tim Southee 2/15, Trent Boult 2/20) by 52 runs.
INDIA (Rahul 50, Rohit 30) beat SCOTLAND 85 all out (Munsey 24, Jadeja 3-15, Shami 3-15) by 8 wickets.

Brilliant batting and bowling send New Zealand second 1

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