On Sunday, New Zealand confirmed their spot in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup by registering a comfortable 8-wickets victory over Afghanistan. The New Zealand win also ended India’s hope to qualify for the semi-finals leaving Indian fans heartbroken.
Chose to bat first, Afghanistan felt the shortage of their batting strength in front of the dominating Kiwi bowlers. Adam Milne, Trent Boult and Tim Southee ensured some early damage to Afghanistan batting order making it difficult to put up a challenging total on the scoreboards.
Trent Boult once again proved his class by picking up 3 wickets in the match including Hazratullah Zazai, Nazibullah Zadran and Karim Zanat. Southee and Milne, on the other hand, bagged two and one wickets each. In the face of such a strong bowing, Afghanistan’s innings ended with a subpar total of 124.
Chasing 125 runs to win, New Zealand reached the finish line with 11 balls to spare. Only Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan managed to pick up one wicket each which was not enough considering Afghanistan’s not-so-impressive score.
Captain Kane Williamson and Devon Conway put up a 68-run partnership to grab an easy win for New Zealand. Williamson remained unbeaten at 40 off 42 balls while Conway finished with a 32-balls 36 not out.
The match was on the radar of not only the New Zealand and Afghanistan fans but also of the entire Indian cricket fraternity who were finger crossed for an Afghanistan win to keep India’s hope for the semi-finals alive. In fact, Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun said on Sunday, “We are backing Afghanistan to do well in this tournament. But again, in sport, sport is all about ups and downs, and you need to accept and move on. You need to give out your best at any point in time. It was the entire team and they were to do well in the series but that was not so.”
However, in reality, Afghanistan barely had a chance against the disciplined Kiwis who pulled themselves back after facing a defeat against Pakistan. Kane Williamson and his men made sure of India’s exit from this year’s T20 World Cup.
As New Zealand emerged as the second team from Group 2 to enter the final four after Pakistan, India India cancelled their pre-match practice session scheduled at 6.30 pm.
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