T20 Cricket Kiwis beat Afghanistan and knock out India

Afghanistan 124-8 (20 overs): Zadran 73 (48); Boult 3-17

New Zealand 125-2 (18.1 overs): Williamson 40* (42), Conway 36* (32)

New Zealand won by eight wickets

Scorecard. Tables

New Zealand clinically beat Afghanistan by eight wickets to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Men's T20 World Cup and eliminate pre-tournament favourites India.

The Black Caps join Pakistan in progressing from Group 2 and will likely meet England in the last four.

They were exceptional in the field, holding Afghanistan, who needed a win to maintain their own slim hopes, to 124-8.

Najibullah Zadran hit 73 from 48 balls but Trent Boult took 3-17 and the New Zealand fielders held onto three superb catches.

Although Daryl Mitchell fell for 17 and Martin Guptill 28, captain Kane Williamson hit a typically calm 40 not out as his side eased to victory with 11 balls to spare.

India, who required an Afghanistan victory to stay in contention after defeats in their opening two games, are eliminated before their final match against Namibia on Monday.

There may have been a sparse crowd in Abu Dhabi but there were millions – possibly more than a billion – of interested followers around the world, given this match effectively decided the fate of three nations in this tournament.

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tweeted his support for Afghanistan before the game but sadly for Indian and Afghan hopes, New Zealand are probably the most professional outfit in world cricket.

Their trusty seamers – Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne – reduced Afghanistan to 19-3 and any hopes of an upset were already fading inside six overs.

New Zealand's fielding was brilliant. Wicketkeeper Devon Conway took a leaping catch to dismiss Mohammad Shahzad, Jimmy Neesham's tumbling grab at long-off ended Zadran's innings and Williamson clung onto a ball dropping over his shoulder after running back from extra cover to see off Rashid Khan.

There was also a spectacular diving boundary save from Daryl Mitchell which denied Rashid a six on the mid-wicket boundary.

New Zealand took a measured approach to the chase, but, after playing himself in, Conway swept two fours in the 14th over to alleviate any pressure.

He ended 36 not out alongside Williamson, the pair sharing an unbeaten stand of 68, although Conway should have been caught behind early on when Afghanistan did not appeal for what replays showed to be a thin edge.

Conway calmly knocked the winning runs at the start of the penultimate over for a win that, unless Scotland upset Pakistan, sets up a repeat of the 2019 50-over World Cup final.

India were Favourites at the beginning of the tournament to win.

No doubt there will be and investigation back home in India on why the team didn’t reach the semi- finals.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: "It was a strong performance, we know how dangerous they are with match winners in all departments. It was a 150 surface, so we knew there were some big threats, so we tried to suck things up."

New Zealand bowler Trent Boult: "The boys are in good spirits, there are big games coming up and we look forward to the semi-final. England have been playing some very good cricket, it's an exciting challenge and we look forward to it."

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi: "It was the plan to put a decent total on the board, we did not start well and after a 50 partnership we did not finish well. We were 30 runs less than what we wanted.

"We played some good cricket [in the tournament], we take a lot of positives and work on it for the future games coming up."

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