New Zealand defeated Afghanistan by eight wickets at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to book a place in the semi-finals of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. With the Black Caps victory, the hopes of India making it to the knock-out stage have also ended.
India failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the ICC tournament for the first time since 2012. This means that Virat Kohli’s reign as the captain of the Indian T20I side will come to a close without the celebrated cricketer winning the coveted ICC T20 World Cup title.
Pakistan, England and Australia had all booked their spots in the semi-finals by Saturday night. With their victory over Afghanistan on Sunday, New Zealand locked down the fourth berth.
Chasing a paltry target of 125, New Zealand lost Daryl Mitchell early. Mujeeb Ur Rahman got rid of Mitchell in the fourth over. Soon, Rashid Khan joined the party and cleaned up explosive batter Martin Guptill to reduce New Zealand to 57/2. However, captain Kane Williamson and left-handed batter Devon Conway formed an unbeaten stand of 68 runs for the third wicket to take New Zealand home.
Williamson remained unbeaten on 40 off 42 balls, while Conway stayed alive on 36 from 32 deliveries.
Earlier, the New Zealand bowling attack completely dominated the proceedings and restricted Afghanistan to 124/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Najibullah Zadran was the lone scorer in Afghanistan’s innings. The left-handed batter scored a brilliant 73 off 48 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries, including three sixes. Apart from Zadran, only Gulbadin Naib (15) and Mohammad Nabi (14) scored in double figures.
For the Kiwis, pacer Trent Boult was the pick of the bowlers. The left-arm seamer bagged a three-wicket haul for 17 runs in his quota of 4 overs. His partner Tim Southee claimed two scalps for 24 runs.