T20 World Cup: India Gone With The Windy Kiwis As They Clean Up The Afghani Chicken Dish!

The most eagerly awaited match between New Zealand and Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi today came as an anti-climax for millions of Indian fans as the Kiwis made mincemeat of the Afghans   winning by 8 wickets, thus eliminating India from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup-2021. This super Sunday in terms of viewership turned out to be a spoilsport the same as the previous two ‘super’ Sundays for the hugely disappointed fans. Realistically speaking, it was quite unreasonable to expect a team that was demolished by India just three days back to bounce back and defeat a team that has been very dominant in international cricket for the last few years. Afghanistan won the toss and reverted to their original tactic of batting first. When asked about the reversal of decision captain Nabi said that that evening in the match against India the dew was a factor which actually was not ultimately, but today’s  being a day match with a good batting surface and three Afghan spinners the decision was made. However, the decision misfired again.


The Kiwi pace battery proved to be too much for Afghanistan as the trio fast bowlers, Southee, Boult and Milne, shared the three wickets that fell very early on. Thanks only to Najib Zardan’s lovely innings of 73 runs in 48 balls Afghanistan was able to cross the 100-run mark and finally posting a feeble total of 124/8; a target that even the super spinners would find very hard to defend. No other Afghani batsmen could make significant contributions. They were also handicapped by super fielding and outstanding catches take by the Kiwis. New Zealand, happy to restrict the opposition to a highly attainable score and totally focused on ensuring a semi-final berth, progressed slowly and steadily losing Daryl Mitchell to Mujeeb early on. Martin Guptill fell to Rashid Khan after scoring 28 runs. Then Captain Kane Williamson (40 not out) and Conway (36 not out) took charge of the chase guiding their team home with 11 balls to spare. New Zealand is now in the top position with a better net run-rate than Pakistan which may change after the latter’s last match against Namibia later today.


Semi-finalists of the T20 World Cup are now finalized: England and Australia in Group-1; and New Zealand and Pakistan in Group-2. Who will meet who in the two semi-finals will be clear after the Pakistan-Namibia match. If the game of cricket were a hurdle race then New Zealand would be the greatest hurdle in India’s progress in the title race in World Cup tournaments in recent times, always defeating India in crucial matches including the ICC World Cup-2019. India must find a way to handle the NZ fast bowlers fast. In any case, there is going to be much introspection and soul-searching with the new coach of Team India, Rahul Dravid, taking over from Ravi Shastri after the tournament. Hardly a soul would be interested enough to watch what India would do to Namibia tomorrow, except perhaps the die-hard fans of the Indian ‘superstars’.

PS: Pakistan defeated Namibia by 72 runs and topped Group-2, remaining unbeaten. First Semi-final: November 10, England Vs New Zealand; Second Semi-final: November 11: Pakistan Vs Australia. 


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