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Pakistan and the Black Caps qualify for the semis from Group 2.
New Zealand have managed to become the second team from Group 2 after Pakistan to qualify for the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021. On Sunday, November 7, Kane Williamson and Co. defeated Afghanistan by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Their victory means that Virat Kohli’s India won’t be able to progress beyond the Super 12 of the tournament.
Najibullah Zadran takes charge
Afghanistan’s decision to bat first backfired to some extent to begin with. They scored 23 runs in the first six overs and lost wickets of their openers – Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai – and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Gulbadin Naib scored 15 and seemed to get the measure of the conditions before Ish Sodhi castled him. From 56 for four in 10 overs, the Afghans staged a decent comeback.
Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi put on 59 for the fifth wicket off 48 balls. Nabi strained during the stand as he scored 14 at a strike rate of 70 before Tim Southee got him. Najibullah, on the other end, looked at his fluent best and notched a fifty off 33 balls. The southpaw went on to score a 48-ball 73, laced with six fours and three sixes. On the back of his knock, the Afghans got 124.
Williamson, Conway take New Zealand home
The Black Caps got off to a steady start in their run-chase as they made 45 runs in the powerplay and didn’t allow the required rate to go up. Daryl Mitchell smashed three fours before Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who returned after an injury layoff, got rid of him. Martin Guptill, Mitchell’s opening partner, also looked good, having scored 28 off 23. Rashid Khan castled him to cut short his stay.
From there on, Kane Williamson and Devon Conway took charge and didn’t allow the Afghans to get a foothold back into the contest. The duo stitched together an unbeaten partnership of 68 runs for the third wicket off 9.2 overs. Williamson brought forth all his experience as he stayed not out on 40 off 42 with three fours. Conway also looked in decent touch as made an unbeaten 32-ball 36.