New Zealand stayed on track to reach the T20 World Cup semifinals after knocking off Namibia by 52 runs on Friday.
The Black Caps moved above Afghanistan into second place in their group behind already-qualified Pakistan. Beat Afghanistan on Sunday and they advance, too.
Forced to bat first, New Zealand was meandering until, with four overs to go, Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham blew up the Namibia battery. They took an unbeaten 67 runs from the last four overs to post 163-4.
It made the difference.
Namibia was on pace with New Zealand after 14 overs, but that 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 111-7.
“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.”
Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson and Devon Conway made starts for New Zealand but Namibia did well to restrict them to 87-4 in the 14th over.
Neesham joined Phillips, who was on 4, and they started cautiously, scoring nine runs in the next two overs.
Then the gloves came off.
They took 14 runs from Erasmus’ last over; both batsmen hit sixes off David Wiese in a 21-run 18th over; Phillips pulled Ruben Trumpelmann over the fence in the 19th; and Neesham hit over the deep square leg boundary in a last over in which medium-pacer JJ Smit also conceded four wides.
The 67 runs plundered in the last four overs was the best in the tournament.
Phillips finished 39 not out off 21 balls, and Neesham 35 not out off 23.
“We knew anything above 150 would be good,” Neesham said.
The chase started OK. Michael van Lingen and Stephan Baard gave Namibia its best opening stand of the tournament, 47 to the eighth over.
Namibia was still OK after 14 overs at 85-3, but when it needed to up the pace like New Zealand did, it couldn’t.
New Zealand pacer Tim Southee removed Wiese and Zane Green and Namibia’s hopes rapidly faded. Trent Boult took two more wickets for ducks.
Namibia, out of playoffs contention, finishes against India on Monday.