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PICS: India's hopes end as New Zealand seal semis spot

Last updated on: November 07, 2021 21:43 IST
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Images from the T20 World Cup match between Afghanistan and New Zealand, in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday. 

Captain Kane Williamson led New Zealand's chase with a well-calculated unbeaten 40 off 42 balls in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Afghanistan, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

IMAGE: Captain Kane Williamson led New Zealand's chase with a well-calculated unbeaten 40 off 42 balls in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Afghanistan, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

New Zealand easily defeated Afghanistan by eight wickets in their concluding Super 12s match to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

The result ended India slim hopes of going through.

The Kiwis chased down a paltry target of 125 with 11 balls to spare and secured a top-2 finish in Group 2, with eight points from five matches. They join Pakistan, England and Australia in the last four stage.

 

India, currently with four points from four matches, cannot qualify for the semi-finals even if they beat Namibia in their last Group 2 Super 12s match on Monday.

Mohammad Shahzad takes the catch to dismiss New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell.

IMAGE: Mohammad Shahzad takes the catch to dismiss New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Afghanistan ended their campaign with four points from five matches.

Captain Kane Williamson top-scored for the Kiwis with an unbeaten 40, while Devon Conway contributed 36 not out.

For Afghanistan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan took a wicket each.

Rashid Khan celebrates with teammate Hamid Hassan after dismissing New Zealand opener Martin Guptill.

IMAGE: Rashid Khan celebrates with teammate Hamid Hassan after dismissing New Zealand opener Martin Guptill. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

New Zealand's chase got off to a good start, with regular boundaries in the first three overs, before Mujeeb Ur Rahman gave Afghanistan the breakthrough. 

Mujeeb had missed a couple of games in the Super 12 stage because of an injury, and his return was seen as vital for Afghanistan's chances. He struck with a carrom ball, as Daryl Mitchell knicked to the wicketkeeper.

Devon Conway scored a steady 36 off 32 balls, which included 4 fours.

IMAGE: Devon Conway scored a steady 36 off 32 balls, which included 4 fours. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

However, he was punished when he dropped it short. Back-to-back boundaries from Martin Guptill on either side of the wicket took New Zealand to a comfortable 45/1 in the Powerplay.

Afghanistan were forced to bring in Rashid Khan early in their defence of a small total. Given the meagre total, the batters could get away with not taking many risks against him and simply chip away at the total. 

Kane Williamson is congratulated by Mujeeb Ur Rahman after victory is sealed.

IMAGE: Kane Williamson is congratulated by Mujeeb Ur Rahman after victory is sealed. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Yet, despite their efforts, Rashid claimed his 400th wicket in T20s when a wrong 'un had Guptill, who was looking to sweep, bowled.

Williamson was on 15 off 25 balls at one point, but quickly caught up with a couple of well-timed boundaries.

Conway too got into the attack, sweeping well against the spinners.

The duo paced their chase well, adding an unbroken 68 off 56 balls. Williamson finished with 40 not out off 42 while Conway had four boundaries in his 36 not out  off 32 and hit the winning runs. 

New Zealand pacer Trent Boult celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan's Hazratullah Zazai with skipper Kane Williamson during the T20 World Cup match, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

IMAGE: New Zealand pacer Trent Boult, who took three wickets for 17 runs, celebrates with skipper Kane Williamson after dismissing Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Earlier, Najibullah Zadran scored a gutsy half-century, but found little support from his teammates, as Afghanistan were restricted to a paltry 124 for 8 by New Zealand.

The four New Zealand pace bowlers shared seven wickets among themselves, Trent Boult emerging the pick of the lot with three wickets for 17 runs.

Afghanistan, electing to bat, were greeted with clever and accurate bowling from the New Zealand quicks. Tim Southee and Boult got some swing early, before the pacers quickly adjusted to use the short ball to good effect. 

Najibullah Zadran's power-packed 73 off 48 balls, which included 6 fours and 3 sixes, enabled Afghanistan put up a fighting total.

IMAGE: Najibullah Zadran's power-packed 73 off 48 balls, which included 6 fours and 3 sixes, enabled Afghanistan put up a respectable total. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Mohammad Shahzad, who began with a lofted four above Southee's head, was pushed back by deliveries that rose on him. Having ducked at a few and wafted at a few other short deliveries, he got horribly out of shape as he swung at a ball from Adam Milne, only for Devon Conway to intercept the shot at full stretch above him and hold on to the catch after a bit of a juggle.

Boult then cramped Hazratullah Zazai for room and got the left-hander to get a leading edge to midwicket.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz was probably expecting another short ball, but was met with a full one from Southee which angled into his pads, trapping him LBW. 

Adam Milne celebrates with Devon Conway after dismissing Mohammad Shahzad

IMAGE: Adam Milne and Devon Conway celebrate after teaming up to dismiss Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

At 23 for 3 after the Powerplay, Kane Williamson's men were firmly on top.

The left-handed Najibullah Zadran broke the shackles with a four down the ground in the first over of spin, before getting back-to-back boundaries on either side of the square off Jimmy Neesham. The team's 50 came off another leg-side four.

His partnership with Gulbadin Naib was broken at the stroke of drinks by Ish Sodhi, when Naib chopped a widish ball onto his stumps, but he carried on and added 59 with Mohammad Nabi.

Ish Sodhi celebrates the wicket of Gulbadin Naib with Kane Williamson.

IMAGE: Ish Sodhi celebrates the wicket of Gulbadin Naib with Kane Williamson. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

After going three overs without a boundary, he took on Mitchell Santner, striking him for two sixes over long-on and deep midwicket. The half-century – his second of the tournament – came off 33 balls.

Najibullah had been strong down the ground all day. However, an excellent diving catch by Jimmy Neesham in that region in the deep brought an end to his innings. 

His 73 off 48 balls is the highest score of his T20I career. He was one of four wickets to fall in a clutch at the death. 

Afghanistan have been excellent in the final five overs all tournament, but with the set batters departing and New Zealand good on the field, they weren't able to pile on late runs.

Neesham conceded just two runs in the final over and wrapped up the innings with a wicket in the last ball.

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