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New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi has been hailed as a "tough customer" after copping a nasty blow to the head during his side's T20 World Cup win over Namibia.
Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham plundered 67 runs off the last four overs as New Zealand made 4-163 after being put into bat.
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In reply, Namibia were well set at 0-47 in the eighth over before they faded to 7-111 as New Zealand comfortably sealed the 52-run victory.
However, the win for the Kiwis came at a painful price for Sodhi, who felt the effects of a full-blooded straight drive to the face during Namibia's innings.
The Kiwi spinner couldn't get his hands up in time to stop a fierce drive from David Wiese as the ball smashed into his face.
— Aaron 🇳🇿 (@SportsFan437) November 5, 2021
Sodhi immediately hit the deck clutching at his face as commentators and fans held their breath.
“Oh dear, that’s not good,” commentator Natalie Germanos said. “He’s hit that really hard straight back at Ish Sodhi.
“Hopefully everything is alright, he’s hit that with some power.
Former Australian allrounder Shane Watson added: “Goodness, that is not good. One positive to that was that it came off Ish Sodhi’s forearm onto his head.
“Goodness me, that’s going to hurt.”
Germanos added that it could have broken Sodhi's forearm, such was the speed at which the ball was travelling, with viewers concerned for the Kiwi's health.
— CricBlog ✍ (@cric_blog) November 5, 2021
#ICCT20WorldCup2021 Ish Sodhi should have a CT scan!! Hard hit!! Should be off the field. Due respects to on field examination!!
— Ravishankar Raman (@RavirCTS15) November 5, 2021
Ish Sodhi should be taken straight off. He's probably fine but I don't think any risks should be taken with head injuries. Players should go for a proper check. (matches, tournaments, cricket all come second to health)
— Mark Puttick (@GryllidaeC) November 5, 2021
I hope Ish Sodhi is fine and the impact of that blow not serious one
He is in form of his life and bowling brilliantly in this #T20WorldCup and @BLACKCAPS need him badly
Get well soon brother all our prayers are with you and can't wait 2 c u on field#NZvNAM #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/mysgNig8YR
— Back The Blackcaps (@SteadyTheShip) November 5, 2021
— CRICKETNMORE (@cricketnmore) November 5, 2021
— Vinayakk (@vinayakkm) November 5, 2021
Neesham said Sodhi was in good spirits afterwards and expected the spinner to be available for New Zealand's next match against Afghanistan.
"Ish is a pretty tough customer. Obviously with the concussion protocols, I assume he'll be monitored but we are expecting him to be fine," Neesham said.
Kiwis push India closer to World Cup exit
New Zealand remain in the box seat to qualify for the semi-finals, with a win against Afghanistan in their final group game enough to knock out India, regardless of the result in their match against Namibia.
The Blacks Caps had Phillips, who hit an undefeated 39 off 21 balls, and man-of-the-match Neesham (35 from 23 deliveries) largely to thank for setting up the win over Namibia.
New Zealand, who face fellow semi-final hopefuls Afghanistan on Sunday, were struggling at 4-96 off 16 overs after being put into bat by Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.
But Namibia lost their discipline with 21 coming off the 18th over bowled by Wiese and 18 taken from a wild 10-ball final over from JJ Smit.
"We knew what to expect here, it was a real scrap," said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Namibia had limited New Zealand to 2-62 at the halfway point after winning the toss and electing to field.
One of the early wickets to fall was opener Martin Guptill who had smashed 93 in the 16-run win over Scotland last time out.
Namibia saw openers Michael van Lingen (25) and Stephan Baard (21) make a steady start, helping their team reach 3-56 at the midway point.
But experienced seamers Tim Southee (2-15) and Trent Boult (2-20) applied the brakes as Namibia were only able to add 55 more runs off the last 10 overs.
"Afghanistan are a really, really strong side," added Williamson of their next opponents who are still in the hunt for a semi-final place.
"They have done so well in this tournament and have got match-winners throughout their side. So we are looking forward to playing them."
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