Win takes New Zealand to No. 2 on the Group 2 table, but they aren’t assured of a semi-final spot yet
New Zealand 163 for 4 (Phillips 39*, Neesham 35*, Scholtz 1-15) beat Namibia 111 for 7 (van Lingen 25, Southee 2-15, Boult 2-20) by 52 runs
The stranglehold was on. Namibia’s unheralded attack saw off one threat after another. Martin Guptill: no elevation, caught at mid-off. Daryl Mitchell: deceived in flight, caught in the deep. Kane Williamson: bowled. Devon Conway: run-out. New Zealand were plodding along nervously at 96 for 4 after 16 overs. Another wicket there and the Namibians would have leapt out of their chairs, along with many, many Indians.
Namibia are now officially out, while New Zealand need another big push to see off Afghanistan if they are to make the semi-finals.
Highlights – New Zealand wrap up comprehensive win over Namibia
Namibia’s faster bowlers took the pace off early on. They bowled a succession of cross-seam cutters into the pitch, and slower deliveries. Anything but seam-up the traditional way. Without any swing, both Guptill and Mitchell trusted the even bounce to hit through the line without a worry. And then the first ball of the fifth yielded Guptill’s wicket when he picked out mid-off as David Wiese struck.
WATCH – Erasmus hits Williamson’s stumps
Overs six to ten brought just one boundary as it became increasingly evident this was no easy pitch for a new batter to set up shop in straightaway. But New Zealand possibly had their two best players of spin in Williamson and Conway to do the running. Williamson had begun to shift gears when he hit Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries but fell soon after for 28 when he got a thick inside edge onto the stumps off an attempted slog sweep.
Prior to this game, Gerhard Erasmus had bowled 30.3 overs across 28 T20Is, averaging one-and-a-bit overs per game. On Friday, he sent down four overs, three of which went for just eight with Williamson’s wicket to boot. He did so with a broken ring finger on his right hand. The run rate fell to below six at the start of the death overs as the batters struggled to force the pace. Between overs ten and 16, there were just 34 runs for the loss of Williamson and Conway. At 96 for 4, New Zealand needed a big finish.
Borren: Namibia were ahead for 80% of NZ innings, they will feel deflated
The Phillips-Neesham show
Less than 24 hours after earning a Test call-up after nearly two years, Phillips batted the way he normally does: see-ball-hit-ball. And it needed some improvisation and brute force to take the surface out of the equation. Of course, it helped that Namibia’s seamers either went length or too full in search of the yorker, completely deviating from the very formula that brought them success earlier in the day. Neesham too came out swinging and connected with pretty much every single strike.
WATCH – Phillips smashes Trumpelmann over midwicket
Wiese came in for some tap in his final over. When he went for an offcutter, Phillips backed away and carved it over deep extra-cover for six. When he went away from the batter’s arc, Neesham clattered him over long-on. When he went wide yorker, Neesham dug it out to bisect point and short third. The floodgates had well and truly opened. Then Ruben Trumpelmann followed two length balls that disappeared for boundaries. From looking good to get 135, New Zealand finished with 28 more. Wiese went from 3-0-19-1 to 4-0-40-1.
In trying to preserve wickets, there was a sense Namibia were being way too conservative. But Stephan Baard and Michael van Lingen picked up the pace in the last two overs of the powerplay. From no boundaries in the first four, they hit three fours and a six to end the powerplay at 36 for 0.
WATCH – Southee sends back the dangerous Wiese
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival
The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop
Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)
In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim
It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.
Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series
The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park
While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.
“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.
“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”
“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Bangladesh tour of NZ BCB approves Shakib Al Hasan’s request to skip New Zealand tour
Nazmul Hassan says BCB has no problem with players wanting a break, but says it should happen via official channels
“We have accepted his request,” Hassan said. “We have been saying this for a long time that we have no objection if a player wants to take a break or rest, but it has to be informed officially. The thing is, we want to be informed about such a decision in advance as it is difficult for us if it is informed suddenly. From January, if anyone wants a break, he has to inform us in advance so that we can prepare alternatives.”
This is the third time in 2021 that Shakib has skipped a tour for Bangladesh. He opted out of the white-ball tour of New Zealand in March due to paternity leave before missing the two Tests against Sri Lanka in April to play in the IPL.
Hassan felt Shakib should have asked for the leave officially, rather than informing them verbally.
“This [the confusion] is not embarrassing, to be honest. We simply didn’t know about it, officially,” Hassan said. “The thing is, these things have always happened unofficially. Now, to avoid confusion, we are emphasising that these matters should be official.”
Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand includes two Tests, part of the World Test Championship, beginning on New Year’s Day. The team will leave on December 9 to complete quarantine and then play practice matches.
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