Cricket-Phillips backs New Zealand top order after leading late charge

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(Reuters) - Glenn Phillips has backed New Zealand's top order batsmen to come good at the Twenty20 World Cup after leading a late charge against Namibia as the Black Caps moved to within one win of reaching the semi-finals.

Phillips top scored for the New Zealanders with 39 runs as they went on to notch up a 52-run win to retain second place in Group 2 ahead of their final Super 12 match against Afghanistan on Monday.

"For us, having 160 was always the goal in mind, so it was how can we go about our work to be able to take the most off the last few overs," said Phillips.

"In situations like this, when we lose a couple of early ones and we get into a little bit of a pickle, (we know) that our middle order can always bring it back, if we need to.

"Our top order is going to fire fully at some point and, as we've already seen against India, we didn't need to get involved in it.

"For now it's just take one game at a time and reassess when we go into the middle."

Phillips' partnership with James Neesham in Sharjah powered New Zealand to a total of 163-4 with the pair blasting 67 runs off the final four overs to set the Namibians an insurmountable target.

New Zealand next face an Afghanistan side in Abu Dhabi that have already secured wins over Scotland and Namibia, knowing a win will take them into the last four and Phillips is relishing the encounter.

"It's going to be massively exciting," he said. "They're a really strong side, especially in these conditions, which seem to favour them a little bit.

"But Abu Dhabi might even the playing field a little bit, so hopefully we can put our best foot forward there."

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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