Abu Dhabi. In today’s match of the ICC T20 World Cup, New Zealand defeated Afghanistan by 8 wickets to enter the semi-finals. New Zealand achieved its target in 18.1 overs by losing only 2 wickets. Due to this victory of the New Zealand team, the Indian team has been out of the T20 World Cup.
Strong bowlers led by Trent Boult and strategic batting from skipper Kane Williamson as New Zealand thrashed Afghanistan by 8 wickets to make it to the semi-finals here on Sunday, but ended India’s true hope of going ahead.
Batting first, Afghanistan’s team could score only 124 runs for eight wickets. New Zealand scored 125 for two in 18.1 overs to become the second team from Group 2 of Super 12 to make it to the semi-finals. Pakistan had already secured their place in the last four. Due to this, the match between India and Namibia on Monday has remained formal. England and Australia have reached the semi-finals from Group One.
This is the third time in a row that New Zealand have dashed India’s hopes of winning the title. Earlier, he had defeated India in the semi-finals of the ODI World Cup and the final of the World Test Championship.
Batting first, Afghanistan lost three wickets for 19 runs, which had an impact on their entire innings. Only three of his batsmen reached double digits. Najibullah Zadran scored 73 runs in 48 balls which included six fours and three sixes.
For New Zealand, Man of the Match Bolt took three wickets for 17 runs and Tim Southee took two wickets for 24 runs. Ish Sodhi, James Neesham and Adam Milne got one wicket each. Williamson then played his part. He scored 40 not out off 42 balls with the help of three fours and shared an unbroken 68-run partnership for the third wicket with Devon Conway (36 not out off 32 balls, four fours). Martin Guptill contributed 28 runs off 23 balls with the help of four fours.
The target for New Zealand was small. Guptill and Darrell Mitchell (17 off 12 balls, three fours) looked desperate to register a win. In such a situation, Mujeeb ur Rahman (1 for 31) brought back the color of the faces of Indian fans with Afghanistan by getting Mitchell caught behind the wicket.
Guptill hit two consecutive fours on Mujeeb to take the score to 45 runs in the powerplay. Rashid Khan (1 for 27) then took the ball and made an impact as soon as it came. The New Zealand batsmen gave him full respect. Rashid took his 400th wicket in T20 cricket by bowling Guptill on the googly.
Afghanistan did not allow New Zealand to reach the boundary line for the next five overs after the powerplay amidst immense support from Indian supporters. Williamson read Rashid’s googly well in the 12th over and sent it to midwicket for four.
Conway first tried the spinners and then took the pressure off Mohammad Nabi completely by hitting two fours. He also hit Rashid for a four with a reverse sweep. The specialty of Williamson’s innings was that he did not show haste at any time and effortlessly took the team to the target.
Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat but could only manage 23 runs in the powerplay and in the meantime they lost the wickets of Mohammad Shahzad (four), Haratullah Zazai (two) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (six).
Najibullah gave some momentum to the score by hitting two fours on Neesham in the ninth over and then sending Sodhi’s delivery to midwicket for four runs took the team’s score past 50. Sodhi, however, managed to bowl Gulbadin Naib (15) in this over.
Even after this, the main responsibility of scoring runs was taken by Najibullah. He hit two sixes in an over from Mitchell Santner and then completed his sixth half-century of his career in 33 balls. From the other end, captain Mohammad Nabi (14 off 20 balls) struggled to score runs. Saudi ended Nabi’s struggling innings by taking a beautiful catch off his own ball.
Najibullah and Nabi shared a 59-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Najibullah returned to the pavilion in the 19th over. The credit for this goes to Neesham who took a brilliant catch by diving off Boult’s delivery. Boult also sent Karim Janat (two) to the pavilion in the same over.