New Zealand expect tricky surface in Sharjah

‘In T20 cricket you know there’s an upset just around the corner, so we’ve got to be ready’

New Zealand will have to prepare for a “tricky wicket” in Sharjah in Friday’s Super 12 match against Namibia as the Black Caps fight for a semi-final spot at the Twenty20 World Cup, spinner Mitchell Santner said.

New Zealand lost to Pakistan in the opening match but bounced back with victories against India and Scotland, keeping themselves in the hunt for the last four.

They are third in Group II, level on four points with Afghanistan and behind leaders Pakistan, who have advanced.

Namibia are second-bottom with two points, but Santner said New Zealand will not be taking them lightly.

“In T20 cricket you know there’s an upset just around the corner, so we’ve got to be ready,” Santner told reporters on Thursday.

“We have got to treat it as just another match, not look too far ahead.

“We have seen that the wicket at Sharjah can be tricky and it brings both teams back into it.

“So, we got to be ready for that and what the pitch is going to bring us tomorrow. (It will be) a day game, which is something new again in Sharjah (for us).”

While New Zealand lost by five wickets to Pakistan in Sharjah, Namibia defeated Ireland by eight wickets at the same venue.

Namibia all-rounder David Wiese said the playing surface in Sharjah suits the team’s bowling unit.

“We know New Zealand are a tough opposition and they have world-class players,” Wiese said.

“We are being seen as the underdogs in the game, but we have played at Sharjah before and had a bit of success.

“We think it’s a wicket that could suit our type of bowling…

“In T20 cricket, one person can take the game away from the opposition, and if it’s your day, you could stand up and give that man of the match performance.”

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