T20 World Cup: Afghanistan carries India’s fate as it faces New Zealand

Afghanistan will face New Zealand in a Group 2 Super-12 contest at the T20 World Cup on Sunday. Both these teams, and India, are still in contention for the second semifinal spot.

Afghanistan will need to win to keep itself and India alive in the T20 World Cup.   -  AP

Afghanistan will face New Zealand in a crucial Group 2 Super-12 contest at the ICC T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Both these teams, and India, are still in contention for the second semifinal spot.

If Kane Williamson’s men win, they will get to eight points and qualify for the last four. Afghanistan’s 66-run defeat at the hands of India has dented its hopes of reaching the semis. To advance, it would need to beat New Zealand and then hope for Namibia to pull off an upset win against India.

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Mohammad Nabi's men can go through even if India beats Namibia, but for that, they need a big win to dramatically improve its Net Run Rate. However, India playing last, still gives it an edge.

New Zealand’s batting has looked in good shape and its bowling, especially the eight overs of quality spin from Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, will be crucial in Abu Dhabi, where longer boundaries are perhaps a slightly greater challenge for batters looking to go big.

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Afghanistan, on the other hand, will be sweating over the fitness of Mujeeb Ur Rahman. In his absence, skipper Nabi has to manage with just four overs of quality spin from Rashid Khan. His other bowlers have lacked discipline and incision.

In the batting department, openers Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad usually set the tone with their aggressive, boundary-hitting approach in PowerPlay. Whether they can do the same against the pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee remains to be seen.

The whole of India will be watching closely as well.

 

Teams (from)
  • Afghanistan: Mohammed Nabi (captain), Hazratullah Zazai, Ahmed Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Rashid Khan, Hamid Hasan, Rahamnaullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Fareed Ahmed, Usman Ghani.
  • New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert (wk), James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mark Chapman, Adam Milne, Kyle Jamieson, Todd Astle.
  • Match starts at 3.30 PM IST.

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