New Zealand qualified for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan, who have been eliminated along with India in the process.

India needed Afghanistan to beat the Black Caps, before also having to beat Namibia themselves, but it was not to be as victory for Kane Williamson's men sees them progress from Group 2 along with Pakistan, with England and Australia already through from Group 1.

Any other outcome rarely looked likely in Abu Dhabi as Afghanistan got off to a cumbersome start in their innings, only managing 23 runs for the loss of three wickets during the powerplay.

Najibullah Zadran was the only batsman to impress, hitting 73 from 48 balls including six boundaries and three sixes, before being caught by Jimmy Neesham off the bowling of Trent Boult.

Boult was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3-17, though Tim Southee (2-24) became the second all-time leading wicket taker for the Black Caps in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup history as Afghanistan were limited to 124-8.

A fast start for New Zealand saw 26 runs come from the first three overs, only for Daryl Mitchell (17) to fall from the first ball of the fourth over, caught behind off the bowling of Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Rashid Khan, who had already made history in the tournament by taking 100 wickets in T20Is in the fewest innings (53), clinched his 400th wicket in the format, clean bowling Martin Guptill for 28.

Despite that minor setback, New Zealand eases to victory, with Williamson (four) and Devon Conway (36) knocking off the remainder of the total.

Najibullah effort in vain

At times it felt like a one-man-innings from Afghanistan, with Najibullah hitting 73 of their 124 runs himself. Without him, it is doubtful his team-mates would have reached three figures.

Najibullah ended the tournament as his team's top scorer, knocking 172 runs in his five innings.

Williamson gets everything right

The New Zealand captain knew how crucial victory was here, and followed up a superb innings for his team in the field by calmly seeing them home with the bat to book their place in the semi-finals.

Williamson and Conway were happy to score around a run a ball, taking no risks and comfortably reaching the modest target set by Afghanistan. The Black Caps have now won each of their last four T20 World Cup matches; the only other time they have enjoyed a four-match winning run at the tournament was in March 2016.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul made rapid half-centuries as India belatedly got their T20 World Cup campaign up and running with a 66-run defeat of Afghanistan.

Back-to-back hammerings at the hands of fierce rivals Pakistan and New Zealand left India's hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals hanging by a thread.

The pre-tournament favourites needed an emphatic win over Afghanistan to keep themselves in contention, and they finally delivered on a good wicket at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Rohit, back at the top of the order after dropping down to number three against the Black Caps, smashed 74 from 47 balls, and Rahul made a brilliant 69 off 48 as India racked up 210-2 – the biggest total of the tournament.

Rohit and Rahul combined for India's record opening T20 World Cup stand of 140 and the seventh-highest by any side in the history of the tournament, laying the platform for a huge victory in Abu Dhabi.

Hardik Pandya (35 not out) and Rishabh Pant (27no) added insult to injury after Rohit and Rahul fell to Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib respectively.

Afghanistan, playing their first game since Asghar Afghan retired, fell well short on 144-7 in reply, Ravichandran Ashwin taking 2-14 in his hugely impressive long-awaited T20I return and Mohammed Shami claiming 3-32.

Janat made a quickfire unbeaten 42 and Mohammad Nabi (35) also held India up, but second-placed Afghanistan's semi-finals bid suffered a big setback.

Rahul Dravid was confirmed as India's next head coach while the team went about cruising to a victory that boosted their net run-rate to +0.073, but New Zealand are favourites to qualify from Group 2 alongside Pakistan.

Rohit and Rahul cut loose

India's batsmen had failed to fire in heavy losses to Pakistan and New Zealand, but Rohit and Rahul showed what they are capable of as they resumed their partnership with Ishan Kishan dropping out.

Rohit struck three sixes and found the rope eight times, while Rahul hit two maximums and another six boundaries as he scored a first T20I half-century since last December following eight knocks without one.

Ashwin back in business

All-rounder Ashwin was selected for his first T20I since way back in July 2017, and he made his mark with the ball.

The spinner trapped Gulbadin in his second over and bowled Najibullah Zadran with a delivery that drifted in. Ashwin did not concede a boundary and bowled 12 dot balls in his four overs.

Afghanistan got back to winning ways at the T20 World Cup as they beat Namibia by 62 runs in what was the final match of Asghar Afghan's career.

The former skipper announced prior to the Group 2 clash in Dubai that he would retire from all forms of cricket following the conclusion of the contest.

Asghar received a guard of honour in his 75th and final T20I before producing a knock of 31 – taking his overall tally to 1,382 runs – as Afghanistan looked to bounce back from Friday's defeat by Pakistan.

Mohammad Shahzad top-scored with 45 – surpassing 2,000 runs in men's T20I – while Hazratullah Zazai hit 33 and captain Mohammad Nabi was 32 not out as Afghanistan set a target of 160-5.

Namibia were aiming to build on their opening win over Scotland, but their quest suffered an early blow when Naveen-ul-Haq (3-26) bowled Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen within the opening three overs.

Hamid Hassan also claimed three wickets as the Eagles' chase fell way short at 98-9.

David Wiese hit 26 for Namibia, but it was not enough to prevent a first defeat in the Super 12s.

History for Shahzad

Dismissed by Pakistan for just eight, Shahzad had another opportunity to reach 2,000 runs in the short format.

This time, he made no mistake with his knock of 45 making him the first Afghan to achieve the feat – and 12th overall.

Naveen shines

It was always going to take a special effort to chase down Afghanistan's total of 160-5, but Naveen quickly put Namibia on the back foot.

The 22-year-old dismissed Williams and Van Lingen within his opening 10 deliveries, and that set his side well on the way to what was eventually a commanding victory.

Asif Ali produced an inspired cameo as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by five wickets to maintain their 100 per cent record at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan left it late in the Group 2 clash in Dubai as they chased their opponents' total of 147-6.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib led the way with 35 each for Afghanistan, who aimed to build on their thumping 130-run win over Scotland on Monday.

The in-form Mohammad Shahzad went for just eight and missed the opportunity to become the first Afghan to reach 2,000 men's T20I runs.

Mohammad Rizwan's eight runs were enough to take him beyond 1,000 in T20 internationals since the start of 2020, however, he fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who claimed another wicket after taking five against the Scots.

Captain Babar Azam top-scored with 51 but paid the price for a questionable shot choice as he was bowled by Rashid Khan and Pakistan headed into the penultimate over requiring 24.

Step forward Asif, who produced four thumping sixes from six balls to make it three wins out of three for Pakistan.


Asif delivers again

Afghanistan appeared to be gaining the upper hand when Babar and Shoaib Malik were dismissed within five balls of each other at the end of the 18th over.

But the whole complexion of the contest turned on its head with Asif on strike.

The all-rounder hit 25 from just seven balls and farmed the strike to magnificent effect, producing another devastating display of power after his 12-ball 27 against New Zealand.


Bittersweet for Rashid

After dismissing Babar and Mohammad Hafeez, Rashid took his T20I wicket tally to 101.

He became the fourth player to reach 100 T20I wickets after Lasith Malinga, Shakib Al Hasan and Tim Southee.

Nevertheless, his efforts were not quite enough to give his nation a second successive win.

Afghanistan started their T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign in style with a 130-run rout of Scotland.

Having stunned Bangladesh en route to topping Group B to qualify for the Super 12, Scotland will have had hope of causing an upset in Sharjah.

However, any prospect of them doing so quickly diminished as Afghanistan dominated with bat and ball.

Hazratullah Zazai (44), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) and Najibullah Zadran (59) propelled Afghanistan to a total of 190-4 that always looked well beyond Scotland, who quickly wilted in the face of a mammoth chase.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman took career-best figures of 5-20 and Rashid Khan claimed 4-9 to bowl Scotland out for just 60.

The victory sees Afghanistan surge to the top of Group 2 at this early stage.

 

Afghanistan reach new heights

Scotland were swiftly on the back foot as Afghanistan piled on 55 runs for the loss of just one wicket in the powerplay and Mohammad Nabi's side did not let up.

Zazai and Zadran each cleared the rope three times and Gurbaz hit four sixes, the stand of 87 between the latter duo pivotal in Afghanistan posting their highest T20 World Cup score.

Scotland in a spin

Scotland's highest successful chase is 181 but they saw a promising early start fade badly as Afghanistan's spinners took hold.

George Munsey (25), captain Kyle Coetzer (10) and Chris Greaves (12) were the only players to reach double figures as Mujeeb and Rashid ripped through the line-up. A meeting with Namibia is Scotland's most realistic chance of a Super 12 win.

Sri Lanka are through to the T20 World Cup Super 12 after a dominant 70-run win over Ireland.

Wanindu Hasaranga's 47-ball 71, along with 61 from Pathum Nissanka, which came from the same amount of deliveries, propelled the 2014 winners to 171-7.

The 172 target proved well beyond Ireland, who were dismissed for 101 with nine balls left, Hasaranga also taking a wicket and bowling a team-high 14 dot balls in a Man of the Match display.

It means Sri Lanka can top Group A with a win over the Netherlands, whose hopes came to an end with defeat to Namibia.

Max O'Dowd hit a 56-ball 70 for Netherlands as they posted 164-4, however, David Wiese's unbeaten 66 ensured Namibia got over the line for a six-wicket win with six balls left.

England are among the tournament favourites and they underlined that status with a 13-run warm-up win over New Zealand in which Jos Buttler delivered a scarcely needed reminder of his class by hitting 11 fours and two maximums for his 73.

Mark Wood (4-23) and Adil Rashid (3-18) impressed with the ball for England, who were runners-up in 2016 to West Indies.

The Windies seemingly have work to do ahead of the Super 12 after a 56-run defeat to Afghanistan, who saw Hazratullah Zazai (56) and Mohammad Shahzad (54) hit half-centuries.

Rassie van der Dussen, meanwhile, looks in ominous form for South Africa, his 51-ball 101 comprising of 10 fours and four maximums as South Africa saw off Pakistan by six wickets.

On the evidence of their two warm-up matches, the West Indies, the defending ICC T20 World Cup champions, will be limping into their opening match against England on Saturday, following their 56-run loss to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Australian government has been praised by FIFPro after evacuating women footballers and other athletes from Afghanistan. 

Many sportswomen in Afghanistan have gone into hiding after the Taliban seized control of the country's capital Kabul. 

Football's governing body FIFA contacted a number of governments last week to request help getting footballers out of the country and it has been reported at least 50 have made it to Australia.

"We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating a large number of women footballers and athletes from Afghanistan," FIFPro, the international organisation for professional players, said in a statement.

"These young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid.

"There remains much work to do to support and settle these young women and we urge the international community to make sure that they receive all the help they need."

Former Afghanistan national team captain Khalida Popal hopes more players can be helped to escape the country.

"The last few days have been extremely stressful but today we have achieved an important victory," she said.

"The women footballers have been brave and strong in a moment of crisis and we hope they will have a better life outside Afghanistan.

"But there is still much more work to do. Women's football is a family and we must make sure everyone is safe."

FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann added: "It has been an incredibly complex process for everyone involved to secure their evacuation.

"Our hearts go out to all the others who remain stranded in the country against their will."

Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will meet in their first game of the T20 World Cup on October 24.

The schedule for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman was confirmed on Tuesday, with the final taking place in Dubai on November 14.

Pakistan and India will do battle in their opening Super12 Group 2 match at 6 pm local time.

New Zealand will get their bid for glory underway against Pakistan in Sharjah two days later, while Afghanistan begin their campaign on 25 October against a qualifier

Holders West Indies play England in a repeat of the dramatic 2016 final in debut on October 23, the same day as Group 1 rivals Australia face South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

The opening game of the competition will see co-hosts Oman come up against Papua New Guinea in Group B on October 17, with Scotland and Bangladesh in action on the same day.

The first semi-final will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 10 and the second will be staged in Dubai the following day.

 

 

West Indies T20 World Cup schedule 

23 October

 England  vs   West Indies

 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

 26 October

South Africa  vs  West Indies


 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

29 October

West Indies  vs  B2

Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

 

4 November
  West Indies   A1

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

 

 6 November

Australia  vs  West Indies

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
  

 

  

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