After Trent Boult and TIm Southee’s incisive spells, Kane Williamson and Devon Conway take their team to the semifinals
New Zealand beat Afghanistan by eight wickets in a Group 2 Super-12 game here on Sunday to progress to the ICC T20 World Cup semifinals. As a result, India and Afghanistan failed to qualify further.
Needing a modest 125 to win, Daryl Mitchell and Martin Guptill began with a flurry of fours before Mujeeb Ur Rahman got Mitchell caught behind. Guptill, with Kane Williamson, took New Zealand to 45 for one in six overs.
Rashid Khan (1/27) castled Guptill in the ninth over for his 400th T20 wicket. But with only 68 to get off 11.1 overs and eight wickets to spare, Williamson and Devon Conway were content with singles and the occasional fours. Conway brought the equation down to 34 from 36 balls with two fours off Mohammad Nabi’s last over. New Zealand eventually got over the line, riding on an unbeaten 68-run partnership between Conway and Williamson.
Earlier, Afghanistan lost both openers cheaply after electing to bat. Adam Milne removed Mohammad Shahzad in the third over, courtesy a fine catch by wicketkeeper Conway. Trent Boult then had Hazratullah Zazai caught. And when Tim Southee trapped Rahmanullah Gurbaz in front in the last over of the PowerPlay, Afghanistan was in dire straits.
Najibullah Zadran infused some life into the innings with a couple of boundaries off James Neesham in the ninth over. But just when there was a semblance of a fightback, Gulbadin, at the other end, chopped on.
Meanwhile, Najibullah clubbed Santner for two sixes as 19 came off the 14th over, including a wide. Next over, the left-hander brought up a 33-ball half-century. The boundaries dried up between overs 15 and 17 before Najibullah ended the drought with a six and a four off Southee in the 18th.
Off the last ball of the same over, Nabi was caught and bowled while Najibullah fell in the next, having struck a 48-ball 73. Neesham conceded two runs and took a wicket in the 20th as Afghanistan finished on 124 for eight. It wasn’t enough to keep the side alive in the end.
Afghanistan innings: Hazratullah Zazai c Santner b Boult 2 Mohammad Shahzad c Conway b Milne 4 Rahmanullah Gurbaz lbw b Southee 6 Gulbadin Naib b Ish Sodhi 15 Najibullah Zadran c Neesham b Boult 73 Mohammad Nabi c and b Southee 14 Karim Janat c Ish Sodhi b Boult 2 Rashid Khan c Williamson b Neesham 3 Mujeeb Ur Rahman not out 0 Extras: (b-1, lb-1, w-3) 5
Total: 124/8 in 20 overs
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-12, 3-19, 4-56, 5-115, 6-119, 7-121, 8-124
New Zealand bowling: Tim Southee 4-0-24-2, Trent Boult 4-0-17-3, Adam Milne 4-0-17-1, James Neesham 4-0-24-1, Mitchell Santner 2-0-27-0, Ish Sodhi 2-0-13-1.
New Zealand Innings: Martin Guptill b Rashid Khan 28 Daryl Mitchell c Shahzad b Mujeeb Ur Rahman 17 Kane Williamson not out 40 Devon Conway not out 36 Extras: (LB-2 W-2) 4
Total: (For 2 wickets in 18.1 overs) 125
Fall of wickets: 1-26 2-57
Afghanistan bowling: Mohammad Nabi 4-0-26-0, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 4-0-31-1, Naveen-ul-Haq 2-0-16-0, Hamid Hassan 3-0-14-0, Rashid Khan 4-0-27-1, Gulbadin Naib 1.1-0-9-0
Semifinals: November 10: England (Group 1 topper) vs New Zealand (Group 2 runner-up), Abu Dhabi
November 11: Pakistan (Group 2 winner) vs Australia (Group 1 runner-up), Dubai
Final: November 14: Dubai
All matches at 7.30 p.m. IST