Namibia fended off threat after threat from the Kiwis!

New Zealand moves up to second place in Group 2, but they aren’t guaranteed a place in the semi-finals just yet.

New Zealand 163/4

Namibia 111/7

The grip had been established. Namibia’s surprise offensive fended off danger after threat. Martin Guptill was captured at mid-off with no elevation. Daryl Mitchell was duped in flight and stranded in the abyss. Kane Williamson has been bowled out. Devon Conway is on the run. After 16 overs, New Zealand was 96 for 4 and anxiously slogging along. If there had been another wicket there, the Namibians would have sprung out of their seats.

Then the spin stranglehold ended, and the bowlers took a thrashing as Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham went after the fast bowlers. New Zealand scored 163 runs in the final four overs, the most by a side in the tournament’s death overs, and Namibia never really pushed them after that.

Early on, Namibia’s speedier bowlers slowed the game down. From overs six to ten, there was just one boundary, indicating that this was not an easy pitch for a novice hitter to settle into right away. However, Williamson and Conway were likely to do the running. Williamson had started to alter gears when he smashed Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, but he went shortly after for 28 when an attempted slog sweep resulted in a thick inside edge onto the stumps.

As the batsmen failed to drive the tempo, the run-rate dipped below six at the start of the death overs. For the loss of Williamson and Conway, there were just 34 runs between overs ten and sixteen. New Zealand needed a huge finish after being reduced to 96 for 4.

In his final over, Wiese came in for some tap. Neesham dragged it out to bisect point and short third when he went wide yorker. Ruben Trumpelmann was then trailed by two long balls that vanished for boundaries. From a promising start to a total of 135, New Zealand added 28 more points.

There was a sense that Namibia was being far too cautious in its efforts to preserve wickets. However, in the final two overs of the powerplay, Stephan Baard and Michael van Lingen ramped up the pace. They smashed three fours and a six to finish the powerplay at 36 for 0 after hitting no boundaries in the first four. With Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner still having eight overs of strong spin in reserve, they could have gone further. Santner’s drift and fast turn bowled Baard neck and crop, while Erasmus was caught behind by a sharp-turning leg break. They had left themselves with too much to do at 55 for 3 in the tenth over, and Trent Boult and Tim Southee finished the game in style.

Namibia has been eliminated, while New Zealand will need another great drive to beat Afghanistan and go to the semi-finals.