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Afghanistan opt to bat first, post 124/8 (20), New Zealand post 125/2 in 18.1 overs.
Throwback for the retro kits of recent times.
6.42 pm: And that is the end of the Ravi Shastri-Virat Kohli era too (yes there is a match left, but you know what we mean). Some excellent memories made, but the ICC title proved elusive.
NEW ZEALAND WIN BY 8 WICKETS: Huge buildup to the match, in the end as comprehensive a performance as NZ could have hoped for. A 68-run unbroken partnership between Williamson and Conway seals the deal for BlackCaps.
New Zealand 118/2 after 17 overs: Expensive final four from Mujeeb, he finishes with 4-0-31-1. NZ 7 runs away. Conway has been as good as his captain here. His form is further good news for NZ.
New Zealand 108/2 after 16 overs: Williamson with another four off Hamid Hassan...
New Zealand 101/2 after 15 overs: When Rashid Khan goes for 10 runs at this stage, you know the match is all but done. 4-0-27-1 for the star spinner.
New Zealand 91/2 after 14 overs New Zealand are cruising in Abu Dhabi with Williamson and Conway putting together a partnership filled with elegant boundaries. This time Conway takes on Nabi, two fours behind square on the leg side.
New Zealand 78/2 after 13 overs: One flick off Rashid Khan through midwicket and one cover drive for four off Gulbadin. Those two shots from Kane Williamson alone worth the admission fee for this match. What timing.
New Zealand 70/2 after 12 overs: No words, simply no words, to describe how well Williamson timed that flick through midwicket for four.
OUCH: Replay shows Hamid Hassan managed to get a feather from Conway but no one appealed for anything.
New Zealand 63/2 after 11 overs: A really good over from Hamid Hassan, just 2 off it. But Afghanistan need wickets... a few of those.
New Zealand 61/2 after 10 overs: Need 64 runs from 60 balls to knock Afghanistan and India out.
WICKET! New Zealand 57/2 (8.5 overs): Guptill gone, Rashid Khan strikes in his 2nd over for his 400th T20 wicket. What an incredible achievement!
Only the 2nd innings in all T20 cricket where Rashid Khan is bowling to Kane Williamson.
New Zealand 53/1 after 8 overs: Nabi returns for a second over, just three singles there.
New Zealand 50/1 after 7 overs: Rashid has bowled to NZ just once in all T20 cricket. But Kane reads him like the back of his end in that over (practice must help). No risk 5 run-over.
New Zealand 45/1 after 6 overs: Superb finish to the powerplay for NZ and they have seen out three overs of Mujeeb as well with losing just one wicket. Guptill finishes with back-to-back fours.
New Zealand 36/1 after 5 overs: “Makes no sense...”, goes Daren Sammy as Hamid Hassan’s first ball is hit for four. No Rashid Khan in the powerplay again.
Still pace from the other end! This is utterly bizarre from Afghanistan.
New Zealand 30/1 after 4 overs: Mujeeb starts with a beaut to take one away from Williamson first up. Good over for AFG.
WICKET! New Zealand 26/1 after 3.1 overs: Mujeeb strikes! Shahzad takes a sharp catch as Mitchell edges one behind.
New Zealand 26/0 after 3 overs: Pace... pace... Mitchell and Guptill help themselves to a four each. Do Afghanistan know what they need to achieve here?
Daren Sammy, a kickass T20 captain, cannot believe Rashid Khan hasn’t bowled yet. Naveen comes on for the third over.
New Zealand 15/0 after 2 overs: Another over where a short and wide ball hurts Afghanistan. Mitchell undercuts one for four.
New Zealand 7/0 after 1 over: Was a decent over from Nabi till he dropped one short and Mitchell punched past midoff for four.
EQUATION: Afghanistan have to restrict New Zealand for 81 to go 0.0005 past India’s Net Run Rate (and then hope Namibia beat India). They need to restrict NZ for much lesser if they want any breathing room.
WICKET! Afghanistan 124/8 after 20 overs: 2-0-0-0-0-OUT! A sensational last over from Neesham, ends with a great catch by their tailsman Kane. BlackCaps will be delighted with that. AFG (and IND) not so much.
Rashid, a spinner, not having joy swinging (his bat). He is struggling to put away a couple of full tosses. What a last over from Neesham. 2 off 5 balls.
Afghanistan 122/7 after 19 overs: 4-0-17-3 for Boult. Superb.
Rashid and Mujeeb in the middle, they need to add some runs so that they can have a sniff at least with the ball.
WICKET! Afghanistan 121/7 (18.4 overs): And now Karim Janat falls, finds Ish Sodhi at long leg with unerring precision. Boult with another top over in the death.
WICKET! Afghanistan 119/6 (18.2 overs): After reaching his career-best (not joint), Najib falls! Great catch by Neesham at long off. That shaves a few runs off NZ’s target.
A T20I career best for Najib Zadran: With a four off Boult’s first ball in the 19th over, a handy landmark for the left-hander.
WICKET! Afghanistan 115/5 (17.6 overs): A below par innings from the AFG captain. He’s out for a 20-ball 14. Smashes a length ball back but straight into bowler Southee’s hands. It was a good start to the over for AFG as Najib hit a six but they couldn’t make more of it.
110/4 after 17.3 overs: Afghanistan have now scored as much as India did against NZ.
Afghanistan 101/4 after 17 overs: NZ pacers have been really good at the death, and they are showing it again. Tidy over from Boult, and a one-short too for AFG.
Afghanistan 96/4 after 16 overs: Afghanistan need to go hard from here. They have a couple of hitters to follow. Need at least 140 to stand a chance. Good over from Neesham, just 5 runs.
Overs 7-15: 68/1 for Afghanistan. Good recovery after a horror start.
HALF CENTURY: Najib Zadran doesn’t score too many ugly runs. A great batter to watch. He has played a gem here for his side, taking them to a decent score from a near abysmal start. 50 off 33 balls. AFG 91/4 after 15 overs.
Afghanistan 87/4 after 13 overs: HUGE OVER FOR AFG! Najib takes on the favourable match-up against Santner and hits two sixes. Going with the spin. Great effort by Phillips to stop the 2nd, but it clears him. Najib moves on to 49 off 31.
Afghanistan 68/4 after 13 overs: Southee returns and it is another tight over for NZ. Not giving anything away easy.
Afghanistan 66/4 after 12 overs: Nabi and Najib not taking any chances against Sodhi.
The way this match is developing with NZ looking set to reach 8 points, won’t be an exaggeration to say it is a must-win match for PAK against SCO. Can’t be complacent and slip up, because NZ have a better NRR. A defeat and they will face England in semifinal.
Afghanistan 61/4 after 11 overs: Milne returns to the attack as Nabi joins Najib.
Virender Sehwag-esque record.
Time for the drinks break, AFG have lost four wickets in 10 overs with not much on the board.
WICKET! Afghanistan 56/4 after 9.6 overs: Sodhi strikes! While Najib is going strongly at the other end, starting this over with a four... Gulbadin gets out playing a fairly rubbish shot. Short and wide, but heavy spin imparted, the right-hander drags it on the stumps.
Afghanistan 48/3 after 9 overs: Straight as an arrow, lovely shot from Najib off Neesham down the ground for four. Lofted elegantly. Nothing elegant about the next shot but an outside edge is good enough for four. Another decent over for Afghanistan...
Afghanistan 36/3 after 8 overs: A good shot by Najib off Santner for four. Decent over for Afghanistan.
Seems a bit late, Mishi bhai.
Najibullah and Gulbadin look to rebuild
Afghanistan 28/3 after 7 overs: NZ have the perfect bowlers to apply the squeeze in the middle overs. Neesham starts off with a five-run over, Santner comes on from the other end.
India’s hopes ending because of losing three early wickets against New Zealand’s pacers. Deja vu. Afghanistan 23/3 at the end of the powerplay.
OUT! Afghanistan 19/3 after 5.1 overs: WHAT A BALL! WHAT A START! Full and swinging late, Gurbaz has moved across the stumps, and is gone... plumb in front.
Afghanistan 19/2 after 5 overs: Gurbaz has been superb to watch for his strokeplay and he has a massive job now. Not just play the good-looking strokes but play an innings for the long haul. AFG batters continue to swing hard though, the timing not there.
Afghanistan 16/2 after 4 overs: Almost another in that over, but Gulbadin’s top edge goes over the keeper for four. Could have gone anywhere, the batter had no clue.
WICKET! Afghanistan 12/2 (3.1 overs): And the Afghanistan openers are back in the dugout, Boult strikes. Zazai closes the face of the bat early and the leading edge results in an easy catch. Brilliant start for NZ and they have taken a big step towards semifinal. Shahzad and Zazai were crucial to Afghanistan’s hopes.
WICKET! Afghanistan: 8/1 (2.2 overs) Shahzad started off with a superb four down the ground but struggled to connect since. Milne gets the wicket, Conway with a superb catch behind the stumps. Under edge from a Milne short ball, Convway parries it first and holds on later. Another entry into the top catches of the tournament, this one with the gloves on.
Afghanistan 7/0 after 2 overs: More swinging and missing from Shahzad. Superb over from Boult, varying his lengths brilliant to keep the Afghan MS guessing.
Afghanistan 6/0 after 1 over: Shahzad doing Shahzad things, lofts Southee down the ground for four, and then swings massively at what seemed like a off cutter and misses it completely.
All set then... Tim Southee with the ball. Zazai and Shahzad in the middle, surely they are nervous? Surely Afghanistan will be feeling the pinch more than NZ? Let’s find out.
Calculator time: If Afghanistan score 160, they need to restrict New Zealand 115 to have a NRR better than India’s for now. (Need a bigger margin ideally because if India do win against Namibia they will get another NRR boost). For NZ, no NRR business. Win, go through to SF. Lose, tournament over.
STAT: Afghanistan have never faced New Zealand in men’s T20Is, this is their first meeting. Same as England and Bangladesh earlier in the tournament.
So, on paper, Afghanistan have given themselves the best chance to win this match. Winning the toss, batting first, with a full strength bowling attack. And NZ haven’t played great cricket in their last two matches, despite getting across the finish line. Scotland and Namibia both tested the Black Caps. Signs point to a close game but the NZ have the pedigree and experience, expect them to pick their game up at the big stage.
Team news: Mujeeb back, no changes for Black Caps
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi(c), Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson(c), Devon Conway(w), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Yikes. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to ask the Afghanistan captain about billions of Indians cheering them on, when they themselves can win and hope to reach semifinal.Memes are one thing but a question to ask Nabi at the toss? That was not very cool.
TOSS: Afghanistan win the toss. Mohammad Nabi opts to bat first, back to their favourite ploy. A day game, there is no surprise here. Mujeeb is in the XI! A cheer goes around the stadium.
Big toss coming up. Two SRH men (for now) lead the sides. Will Nabi want to bat first like they are used to? Will Williamson also want to bat first? It’s another day game for the BlackCaps, their third on the trot.
In the next few hours, New Zealand could officially end India’s hopes at yet another men’s ICC event. Afghanistan, of course, have to win for themselves and not for India. But their case is quite hard to achieve because they need to beat NZ by a handy margin and still then hope that India-Namibia is a close affair.
At the end of this match, New Zealand could have potentially knocked India out from another ICC event.
2.50 pm: The memes have been flying on social media over the past 24 hours, as India fans root for an Afghanistan win.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Afghanistan vs New Zealand (vs India) in the Super 12 Group 2 crunch clash in Abu Dhabi at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
While Virat Kohli and Co have done their bit by winning big against Afghanistan and Scotland in their last two matches, it will all have counted for nothing if Kane Williamson and Co defeat Afghanistan.
New Zealand defeated Namibia by 52 runs on Friday to move closer to the T20 World Cup semi-finals and leave title favourites India facing an unlikely task of making into the knockouts.
Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham plundered 67 runs off the last four overs as New Zealand made 163-4 after being put into bat.
In reply, Namibia were well set at 47-0 in the eighth over before they faded to 111-7.
New Zealand have six points, two ahead of Afghanistan and India. Pakistan have already booked their place in the last four from Group 2.
For Afghanistan, the task has been made harder by the margin of India’s win against Scotland. They not only need to win today but win by a margin that overtakes India’s current NRR to even stand a chance.
The ball is firmly in New Zealand’s court.