So, it's over for India. New Zealand continue to be that proverbial thorn in India's flesh. ODI World Cup semis in 2019, World Test Championships final last year and now, an indirect knock-out punch in the T20 World Cup. A clinical New Zealand thrashed Afghanistan in their final Super 12 match for their fourth win on the trot. They are through to the semi-finals, along with Pakistan, from Group 2, at the expense of India. Virat Kohli & Co were hoping against hope for an Afghan upset. But once the Kiwi pacers set the tone and restricted the minnows to 124/8, it's only heading one way -- a Kiwi win. With skipper Kane Williamson dropping the anchor, the famed Afghan spin attack. Williamson was involved in an unbeaten 68-run stand in 56 balls. Trent Boult took three wickets for 17 runs to win the player of the award. For the spot in the final, they will either face England or Australia. If Pakistan lose to Scotland in their final group match later today, Kiwis will take the top spot and face Group 1 runners-up Australia. Catch highlights and cricket scores of the AFG vs NZ match here:
6:49 PM IST: Captains React
"It was our plan to bat first and put a decent total on the board... We were eyeing 145-160, that would have been a decent total. Our bowling is strong, but we didn't get a good total," rues Mohammad Nabi, the losing captain.
Kane Williamson hails the Afghan attack. "They have got match-winners in all departments. It was nice to set the tone with the ball straight up, restrict them to a below-par score on a 150-155 surface."
And the Kiwi skipper is expecting England in the semis.
"England are a very strong side, for us it's important to keep learning and focus on the cricket that we want to play. We are looking forward to the occasion," he said.
6:33 PM IST: Result
And Devon Conway hits the first ball of Gulbadin Naib's second over for a single. New Zealand are through to the semis. They beat Afghanistan by eight wickets with 11 balls to spare. And India are knocked out. NZ - 125/2 (18.1); AFG - 124/8 (20)
6:32 PM IST: Scores Levelled
Naveen-ul-Haq with his second over. Kane Williamson takes a couple, over extra cover. A dot, then a single to cover. Another singles as Devon Conway gently flicks the fourth to square leg. And a single to cover from the skipper. Two required. One leg bye. Scores levelled. A 67-run stand in 55. NZ - 124/2 (18)
6:27 PM IST: 7 In 18
Mujeeb Ur Rahman returns for his final over. Devon Conway hits the second ball for a four, to long-on. 10 from the over. Mujeeb's figures: 1/31. New Zealand need 7 runs in 18 balls. NZ - 118/2 (17)
6:23 PM IST: 17 In 24
Hamid Hassan with his third over. A fine drive for a four off the fifth to spoil the over. A single and a leg bye from the first four. A single to end the over. Seven from it. New Zealand need 17 runs in 24 balls. NZ - 108/2 (16).
6:19 PM IST: 24 In 30
Rashid Khan with his final over. Devon Conway hits the first ball for four, reverse sweep. Four singles. And a top-edge but double for the effort to end the over. 100 up for the Kiwis. Ten from the over. Rashid Khan's figures: 1/27. New Zealand need 24 runs in 30 balls. NZ - 101/2 (15)
6:15 PM IST: 34 In 36
Mohammad Nabi with his final over. A double, then a four to backward square leg as Devon Conway plays a not-so-beautiful sweep. And another sweep, and another four. Three singles and 13 from the over. New Zealand need 34 runs in 36 balls. NZ - 91/2 (14)
6:10: PM IST: 47 In 42
Bowling change. Gulbadin Naib on. Four singles. Then a Kane Williamson special, a sublime cover drive for a four. Beautiful. Eight from the over. New Zealand need 47 runs in 42 balls. NZ - 78/2 (13)
6:06 PM IST: 55 In 48
Rashid Khan with his third over. Two singles and Kane Williamson times his flick well to beat midwicket fielder and his first boundary in 27 balls. Seven from the over. New Zealand need 55 runs in 48 balls. NZ - 70/2 (12)
6:01 PM IST: 62 In 54
Hamid Hassan returns for his second over. Singles off the last two balls. New Zealand need 62 runs in 54 balls. 18 runs in the last 30 balls. NZ - NZ 63/2 (11)
5:54 PM IST: 64 In 60
Mohammad Nabi with his third over. Three singles from the over. 25 runs and one wicket in the last 30 balls. New Zealand need 64 runs in 60 balls. NZ - 61/2 (10)
5:50 PM IST: Rashid Strikes
Rashid Khan continues. A wide, then three singles. And cleans up Martin Guptill (28 off 23). Bowled. Swing and miss. 400th T20 wicket for Rashid, fourth to do so, after Dwayne Bravo (553), Sunil Narine (425) and Imran Tahir (420). Devon Conway is the new batter. In the previous over, Mohammad Nabi conceded three singles. NZ - 57/2 (8.5)
5:46 PM IST: Sad News
Abu Dhabi's Indian chief curator, Mohan Singh dies ahead of the match, reports PTI. "It happened today and full details will be revealed when things are more clear. It is very unfortunate," the report quoted a source in the UAE Cricket.
5:43 PM IST: 75 In 78
Rashid Khan on. Four singles, then a dot to Kane Williamson. One more single. New Zealand need 75 runs in 78 balls. NZ - 50/1 (7)
5:38 PM IST: 80 In 84
Mujeeb Ur Rahman continues. Martin Guptill hits the last two balls for fours, to deep mid-wicket and long-off respectively. Nine from the over. Powerplay done. New Zealand need 80 runs in 84 balls. NZ - 45/1 (6)
5:35 PM IST: 89 In 90
Hamid Hassan gets his first over. Martin Guptill hits the first ball for a four. Full toss and hit straight back. Six from the over. New Zealand need 89 runs in 90 balls. NZ - 36/1 (5).
5:29 PM IST: First Wicket
Mujeeb Ur Rahman continues and he strikes. Daryl Mitchell (17 off 12), caught behind. Nice work behind the wicket by Mohammad Shahzad. Kane Williamson is the new man. NZ - 26/1 (3.1).
5:27 PM IST: Very Good Start
Bowling change. Naveen-ul-Haq on. Daryl Mitchell welcomes him with a four, over the bowler's head. Martin Guptill gets his first boundary, a four to mid-off. Brutal hit. 11 from the over. NZ - 26/0 (3)
5:22 PM IST: Good Start For Kiwis
Mujeeb Ur Rahman on. Daryl Mitchell hits the fifth ball for a four, to third man. Eight from the over. NZ - 15/0 (2)
5:19 PM IST: Chase Begins
Captain Mohammad Nabi with the first over. A dot to Martin Guptill, and a double to long on. A single, then two dots to Daryl Mitchell. A four to deep extra cover. Too short and gets punished. Seven from the over. Target for New Zealand - 125 runs.
5:12 PM IST: Kiwis 125 Runs Away
A very poor start from Afghanistan, then a good recovery, only to lose momentum towards the end. 33 runs for four wickets in the last five overs. Trent Boult, once again, was sensational. Three wickets for 17 runs. Najibullah Zadran played a gem of an innings, though. He hit 73 off 48.
5:05 PM IST: Innings Break
And a flying Daryl Mitchell pulls off a stunning fielding effort at deep mid-wicket to restrict a certain six to a couple after Rashid Khan clobbers the first ball. Then, three dots. A slice and Kane Williamson takes a very good catch to dismiss Rashid for 3 off 7. Two runs and a wicket from the over. Neesham's figures: AFG - 124/8 (20)
5:00 PM IST: 3/17 For Boult
Trent Boult with his final over. Two wickets, those of Najibullah Zadran and Karim Janat, and seven runs. His figures: 3/17. 37 runs and three wickets in the last 30 balls. AFG - 122/7 (19).
4:53 PM IST: 2/24 For Southee
Tim Southee on with his final over. Najibullah Zadran hits the second ball for a six, over long off. A couple, then a four. Boult finishes his spell with the wicket of Mohammad Nabi (14 off 20), caught and bowled. 14 from the over. His figures: 2/24. AFG - 115/5 (18)
4:50 PM IST: 100 Up
Trent Boult returns for his third over. Najibullah Zadran survives. A dropped catch at deep square leg. Tough chance. But sloppy from Afghans. Najibullah takes a hasty turn and his bat fails to cross the line. They lose one run. Five from the over. AFG - 101/4 (17)
4:38 PM IST: Zadran Fifty
Adam Milne with his final over. Najibullah Zadran takes a couple off the fifth to reach his fifty, in 33 balls. Four from the over. Milne's figures: 1/17. AFG - 91/4 (15)
4:34 PM IST: Big Over
Mitchell Santner returns for his second over. Najibullah Zadran welcomes back him with a six, over long-on. Two singles, then another six as the left-handed batter beats a leaping Glenn Phillips at deep midwicket boundary. 19 runs from the over. AFG - 87/4 (14)
4:26 PM IST: Sodhi Stats
Ish Sodhi continues. One interesting stat. Five from the over, including a wide. 38 runs and one wicket in the last 30 balls. Sodhi has struck in his first over in every match (5) this tournament -- vs Pakistan (Fakhar Zaman), vs India (Rohit Sharma), vs Scotland (George Munsey), vs Namibia (Gerhard Erasmus) and today, Gulbadin. AFG - 66/4 (12)
4:16 PM IST: Wicket And Drinks
Ish Sodhi with his first over. A single, then a four as Najibullah Zadran flicks it over midwicket. And fifty for Afghanistan. Three singles, then the wicket. Widish but bottom edge and onto the stumps. Sad end to Gulbadin Naib's knock, and 37-run stand. Eight runs from the over. In the previous over, Najibullah Zadran hits James Neesham for back-to-back fours. AFG - 56/4 (10)
4:06 PM IST: Spin On
Mitchell Santner gets his first over. Three singles, then a four, first in 22 balls, to long on as Najibullah Zadran plays it down the ground. A dot, and a single to end the over. Eight from it. 24 runs and two wickets in the last 30 balls. AFG - 36/3 (8)
3:56 PM IST: Three Down
Tim Southee returns and traps shuffling Rahmanullah Gurbaz in front with the first ball. No review. Gurbaz goes for 6 off 9. Najibullah Zadran joins Gulbadin Naib in the middle. AFG - 19/3 (5.1).
3:46 PM IST: Two Down
Trent Boult continues and he strikes with first ball. A gentle loft from Hazratullah Zazai and easy take for Mitchell Santner at mid-wicket. Zazai goes for 2 off 4. AFG - 12/2 (3.1).
3:41 PM IST: Milne Strikes
Adam Milne with his first over. A single, then a stunning catch by wicketkeeper Devon Conway to send Mohammad Shahzad (4 off 11) back. An outside edge and Conway completes the catch after the initial fumble. Great recovery. Rahmanullah Gurbaz is the new batter. In the previous over Trent Boult leaked a single. AFG - 8/1 (2.2)
3:34 PM IST: Shahzad Four
A wide, then one leg bye. Mohammad Shahzad lofts the next for a four, over Tim Southee. Six from the over.
3:29 PM IST: Play Starts
Tim Southee with the new ball. Hazratullah Zazai takes the first strike. Mohammad Shahzad is Zazai's opening partner.
3:17 PM IST: Massive Game
Indian fans are rooting for Afghanistan. Here's one tweet summing up the enormity of this clash.
This will surely be one of the most watched World Cup matches ever not featuring #IND. India going out is never good for viewing figures but this match is likely to essentially represent another India match in terms of its viewership. #T20WorldCup— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) November 7, 2021
3:14 PM IST: India Factor
After four big wins, Pakistan became the first team to make the semis, leaving heavyweights India and New Zealand fighting it out for the second spot from Group 2. Thrown in Afghanistan, and it becomes a three-way fight. The Kiwis are the favourites to make the cut. They need a simple win against the Afghans. If the Afghans win, India have a chance. By the way, India have the best net run rate in the group, and it will only get better with Virat Kohli & Co playing Namibia. Pakistan play Scotland in their final group match later today.
3:08 PM IST: Playing XIs
One change for Afghanistan. Spin prodigy Mujeeb Ur Rahman is back and Sharafuddin Ashraf makes way. New Zealand and unchanged from their win against Namibia. Here are the playing XIs -
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway (wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi (c), Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
3:03 PM IST: Toss
Afghanistan win the toss and they will bat first against New Zealand.
2:43 PM IST: Group 1 Recap
There was also a three-team fight for the two semis spot available from Group 1, featuring Australia, Bangladesh, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and defending champions West Indies. England topped the group with four wins. And Australia join them in the semis, also with four wins. Proteas also finished with four wins, but lost out on net run rate to the Aussies.
Afghanistan: Mohammed Nabi (c), Hazratullah Zazai, Ahmed Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Rashid Khan, Hamid Hasan, Rahamnaullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Fareed Ahmed, Usman Ghani.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mark Chapman, Adam Milne, Kyle Jamieson, Todd Astle.
In the previous over, Mohammad Nabi conceded three singles.