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T20 World Cup 2021, Preview: New Zealand, Afghanistan clash in match that will determine India’s semi-final chances


T20 WC: New Zealand will aim for a victory against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.© Instagram

The Indian team will watch with bated breath as New Zealand Afghanistan in a T20 World Cup match, the outcome of which will determine the semi-finals of Group 2 on Sunday. Joining Team India to pray for an Afghan victory will be its billion-plus supporters. A win for the Kiwis would dampen India’s hopes of advancing to the last four, as it would take them up to eight points, which would put things beyond the reach of Virat Kohli’s men. If Afghanistan manages to change Kane Williamson & Co, it will keep their slim chances alive while strengthening those of the Indians (currently at 4 points), who will have to win their last game by a good margin.

However, if the Kiwis win, India’s last league match against Namibia on Monday will be unimportant. New Zealand will face the game with great confidence after slacking off after the victory against Namibia on Friday.

Jimmy Neesham and Glenn Phillips got the opportunity after the top order failed to shoot and set up a challenging total that was too much for the Namibian batsmen. The Kiwi bowlers’ experience and skills were displayed in the tournament and they will also cause problems for the Afghan batsmen and could determine the fate of Sunday’s match.

The Afghanistan batsmen came up with consistent performances that helped the spinning bowling unit do their job with confidence.

But they will face an attack that includes Trent Boult, Tim Southee and the nimble Adam Milne, apart from the turning duo of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, who tormented the batsmen throughout the tournament.

If the Afghan batsmen can score a significant score, the bowling unit with Rashid Khan at the forefront could be more than a handful. The absence of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman due to injury could weaken the bowling division, but given the Kiwi batsmen’s fight against turn, a big task awaits them.

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How the New Zealand batsmen handle the midfield innings when star spinner Rashid Khan would be in action will have a big say in how the game goes and a good start by the powerful Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell could be crucial, just like the Captain Williamson’s contribution.

Although New Zealand and Afghanistan are fighting in Abu Dhabi, the Indian team in Dubai and its supporters will pray that the fellow Asian nation will do them a favor by writing a memorable victory to see their chances of advancing further survive in the marquee event.

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