Kane Williamson breaks Daniel Vettori’s T20 World Cup captaincy record

T20 World Cup
Kane Williamson

The experienced Kane Williamson became New Zealand’s most successful T20 World Cup captain on the back of a 52-run win over Namibia in Sharjah on Friday.

Williamson welcomed a seventh victory in nine attempts in the history of the tournament. He surpassed the six victories in 13 T20 World Cup matches collected by former captain Daniel Vettori.

“It is good to get this win under the belt. We felt in control with the bat after maximising a few overs toward the end,” said Williamson.

“Credit to Namibia. They put up a good fight and we enjoyed the challenge. It was a good game of cricket and we move along from here.”

New Zealand posted a final total of 163 for four. They were on a precarious 87 for four prior to a late flourish from batsman Glenn Phillips and all-rounder James Neesham.

Phillips hit 39 not out from 21 deliveries to Neesham’s 35 from 23. Their contributions were especially important after openers Daryl Mitchell and Martin Guptill – and wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Conway – fell in the teens. Spinner Gerhard Erasmus was, statistically, Namibia’s best bowler. He claimed figures of one for 22. Williamson was his lone wicket.

In reply, the Namibians slipped to an insufficient 111 for seven. Seamer Tim Southee and fast bowler Trent Boult shone for New Zealand, clinching two for 15 and two for 20, respectively.

The result kept the New Zealanders in contention for a berth in the semi-finals. They reached the semi-finals in 2007 and 2016, when the tournament was called the World Twenty20.

Sodhi in doubt

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi did not bowl a full four-over allotment after copping a blow to the head. He tried to deflect a straight hit from Namibian batsman David Wiese, but reacted too slowly.

Whether Sodhi is fit enough to be named in New Zealand’s XI for Sunday’s fixture against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi remains in the balance.

“Afghanistan are a strong side and have played really well. They are full of match-winners across their team. We are looking forward to a big challenge,” added Williamson.

This is the first time the tournament has been played since 2016. The West Indies are the reigning champions, after beating England in the final five years ago.

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