ICC T20 World Cup 2021: New Zealand with the win over Afghanistan destroys the semifinals hope for Afghanistan as well as India too. Their bowling outclassed Afghan batters restricting them at 124. While they themselves chased it down with 8 wickets in hand.
A lot of positives to take from this game for Afghanistan. Lone warrior with the bat, Najibullah Zadran was one of the positive. Making more than 50% of the runs alone and with a healthy strike rate of 152.08. A great effort from the 28-year-old.
The Man of the Match awardee, Trent Boult, was working his magic with three wickets and only giving 17 runs. Getting the dangerous Hazratullah Zazai at the start and picking Najibullah Zadran at the death to reduce further damage.
The black caps were bang on with their bowling. Planning and executing their strategy with accuracy. Roping Afghan batters with some strings of dot balls. Having Kane Williamson like skipper helps too. Bowling changes in particular is something he has mastered over time.
Afghanistan batters failed to navigate their way right from the start. Losing three wickets inside powerplay and only managing three runs per over, they started under pressure. Zadran gave them some relief, but their opponent was on a mission.
The wicket was slow and the ball was not coming onto the bat that well. The strategy to take on the spinners found some success for Zadran, however, Kane put brakes on that strategy by utilizing Jimmy Neesham’s overs more and cutting down Santner’s overs.
That small changes have made New Zealand a great team and getting great success too. What was more that at the death New Zealand only gave 10 runs from the last two overs and only two runs from the last over of the innings.
That only shows the dominance New Zealand had over Afghanistan in this game. Southee, Milne, Neesham, and Sodhi too were spot on in this operation. Playing like these when you know that the result could open doors to many possibilities was commendable.
New Zealand knew the despite being small won’t be a walk in the park. With the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, it will only make the task much harder.
That certainly proved right when Mujeeb got Daryl Mitchell in the fourth over, caught behind. The game was a double-edged sword that could cut either team.
Afghanistan gave another blow in the form of Martin Guptill when Rashid Khan‘s googly proved lethal. The game then went into the unpredictable zone. Fans went into a hopeful state watching the battle shifting.
However, you know who got on the crease with Devon Conway to take the qualification home. A superb display of temperament, technique, patience, and resistance against extreme pressure was seen from the pair. When the time came Conway shifted geared to not letting the game drift towards the end.
So we have our teams for the semis now. With that, we also know the fixture too. England, Australia, Pakistan, and New Zealand will battle it out for the final spots of the T20 World Cup 2021.
New Zealand will face the tough challenge from England who has been in tremendous form throughout the tournament. While Australia will face red hot Pakistan.
Afghanistan vs New Zealand, ICC T20 World Cup 2021: post match presentation.
“It is nice to top off the performance today and the boys are playing well. We have had some day games and some night games as well, so that gives us experience and we are confident about the conditions. Batting or bowling first, we are happy doing both and today the bowlers did the job and then the guys finished it off nicely.”
“It was our plan to put up a good score after winning the toss but we were not able to do it. We were a few runs short and we should have got at least got to 140. We tried really hard but felt that we were 30 runs short. We know how to play in UAE but unfortunately, we were not able to execute our plans and we will come back strong next time.”
“It was a strong performance against a very good Afghanistan side who have a lot of match-winners and the bowlers did the job really well as it was a 150 plus pitch. We would have batted first today, which hasn’t been the case in this tournament as the pitches have been challenging and that’s nice because it helps the overall performance and the fielding effort was supportive as well. It is going to be a good challenge but we are ready for it and are looking forward to the encounter (England).”