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News

Stead hails 'pretty special' Phillips and power-packed middle order

New Zealand's coach is impressed by how his batters have handled the slow, turning pitches in Kingston

Since the start of 2020, no middle-order batter (Nos. 4 to 7) has scored more runs in men's T20Is than Glenn Phillips' 746. And of the 16 middle-order batters who have scored 500 or more runs in this period, he has the second-best average (39.26) and the third-best strike rate (151.62).
Phillips has scored three fifties in his last seven T20I innings, most recently on Friday when he made 76 off 41 balls to set up a crushing New Zealand win in their second T20I against West Indies in Kingston. New Zealand coach Gary Stead has been hugely impressed with Phillips' contributions, not just with the bat but also his catching - he's taken four catches in the first two T20Is - and speed across the outfield.
"Glenn burst on to the scene a year or so ago now, and scored a great hundred at Mount Maunganui versus West Indies, and since then just keeps making every post a winner. His batting's been fantastic, he's got good power, but then you couple that with what he can do in the field, it's pretty special as well. He's taken a lot of catches this tour, but the speed he has saves us runs on the field too.
It isn't just Phillips who has sparkled in New Zealand's middle order during this West Indies tour. James Neesham and Daryl Mitchell have also played vital finishing knocks in the first two T20Is.
"It's a nice luxury when you look around [the dressing room]," Stead said. "Guys like Jimmy Neesham, the way he finished that first game was fantastic, coming in and scoring 33 off 15. Daryl Mitchell showed his power in the second game, striking at 200 or a little bit more [48 in 20] as well. We've got Michael Bracewell, who played the last game, who adds power, and [we're] yet to see Mitchell Santner [show his skills on this tour], and we saw what he can do in the Netherlands as well [where he scored an unbeaten 42-ball 77 in the second T20I]."
In both their matches on this Caribbean tour so far, New Zealand batted first and scored 180-plus totals, finishing with a flourish after solid starts anchored by Devon Conway (43 and 42). Stead was pleased with the way New Zealand's batters have handled slow, turning conditions in Kingston.
"The wickets have been interesting," he said. "They look like they take a wee bit of turn, and they've sort of held a wee bit. The way our guys have come in and batted around usually one person in the innings has been great, and the thing that's been pleasing that we've done is our match-ups have been very good and we've taken those on wholeheartedly."