Mitch Marsh blasted a record-breaking 31-ball half-century as Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win their first T20 World Cup title.

Kane Williamson made a majestic 85 from only 48 balls after being dropped by Josh Hazlewood on 21 as New Zealand posted 172-4, after being put in by Aaron Finch in the trans-Tasman showdown at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

That was the joint-highest score in a T20 World Cup final, with Marlon Samuels having been 15 short of a hundred in West Indies' victory over England five years ago. It was also the fastest half-century ever scored in the final of the competition for a short time, until Marsh's heroics.

Williamson reached his fifty from 32 deliveries as Mitchell Starc endured a nightmare, the left-arm quick's four wicketless overs going for 60. The outstanding Hazlewood was the pick of the Australia bowlers with brilliant figures of 3-16.

Australia produced another magnificent run chase on the back of a stunning semi-final win over Pakistan, Warner and Marsh putting on 92 for the second wicket.

Warner made a superb 53 from 38 balls and Marsh was unbeaten on 77 from 50 deliveries as Australia were crowned champions with seven deliveries to spare.

Marsh raced away to his half-century, taking spinner Ish Sodhi (0-40 in three overs) apart as Trent Boult's brilliant figures of 2-18 were in vain.

All-rounder Marsh had not fully realised his potential in an injury-hit career but showed he can be a world-class performer on a historic Sunday night for Australia as New Zealand endured heartbreak in their first T20 World Cup final.

World-class Williamson the man for the big occasion

New Zealand were only 32-1 at the end of the powerplay, with Daryl Mitchell caught behind off Hazlewood, but Williamson shifted through the gears in a masterful innings with sweet timing and power.

The skipper was put down by Hazlewood in the deep in the 11th over from the expensive Starc before hitting Maxwell for back-to-back sixes to reach his half-century - the first of those with one hand coming off the bat as he hoisted the ball into the stand.

Martin Guptill (28) fell to star spinner Adam Zampa (1-26) after being dropped by Matthew Wade on 10, but the boundaries continued to flow for Williamson, who hit three sixes and 10 fours before holing out off Hazlewood.

 

Marsh and Warner make light work of run chase

Boult got an early breakthrough when he sent Finch on his way, but Warner and Marsh swung the game in Australia's favour with clean striking and great running between the wickets.

Marsh struck the first ball he faced from Adam Milne for six, while Warner looked increasingly ominous, taking a liking to the spin of Sodhi and hitting Jimmy Neesham for a huge six to reach a 34-ball half-century.

The excellent Boult returned to clean up Warner and the left-arm paceman dropped a tough chance to dismiss Marsh when Australia were almost home.

Glenn Maxwell (28 not out) struck Tim Southee for four to win it, with Marsh still unbeaten after striking four sixes and another six boundaries in a stunning innings.

Aaron Finch claims there has been no talk in the Australia camp of securing an elusive T20 World Cup title ahead of the final against New Zealand on Sunday.

Australia have never been crowned world champions in the shortest format, losing to England in their only other final back in 2010.

The Black Caps stand in the way of Finch's side and a historic maiden title at the Dubai International Stadium after both sides pulled off brilliant semi-final run chases.

Australia beat Pakistan by five wickets and New Zealand defeated England by the same margin to set up an eagerly awaited trans-Tasman showdown.

Captain Finch revealed there have been no discussions between the players of Australia finally getting their hands on the trophy.

The opening batter said: "We haven't actually spoken about it as yet. We are just committed to turning up and playing some really aggressive and good cricket. 

"We understand that T20 cricket can be fickle in its nature at certain periods of time and you have to embrace the challenges of it, whether it's a final or whether it's a one-off game in any kind of series, I think they all mean a lot. We are just excited to get under way.

"I think the New Zealand side, they have got a huge amount of quality and they have shown that over a long period of time now. I think they have been the best powerplay performing team with the ball in this tournament, so that's going to be a challenge. 

"They have got obviously Daryl Mitchell, who played a great knock in the last game against England. Martin Guptill, class and power. And then you've got Kane Williamson, who is all class as well as a top three.

"They have got match-winners right throughout their innings, and with the bat and ball, Ish Sodhi and Mitch Santner have showed their class in the past as well. It's a game between two sides that are really similarly matched I think, and yes, it will be a great game."

 

Finch says he has no concerns about the former of Steve Smith, who only made five against Pakistan after being dismissed for only one in his previous knock in a loss to England.

 "No, not concerned one bit about his form," he said. "He's a world-class player and he's someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He's been hitting the ball as well as I've seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever."

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was delighted with his team's 29-20 victory against New Zealand and now wants "consistency" ahead of the match with Argentina next week.

Tries from James Lowe, Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris along with a penalty from Johnny Sexton and three from Joey Carbery saw the home side put away the All Blacks in a spirited performance from both the players and crowd in Dublin.

Ireland were on top for much of the match despite somehow going in 10-5 behind at the break after conceding a penalty and a sloppy try, but were able to come back in the second half to win.

"It was a fantastic day for Irish rugby and I'm so proud of the lads," Farrell said to RTE Sport after the victory. 

"I wanted us to make sure we stayed disciplined. I thought just before half-time we lost a little bit of that. We were going off our feet a little bit and [conceded] a few penalties because of it, but we refocused at half-time.

"We asked the boys to bring enough moments to the crowd to get them on song, and that was right throughout the game and it certainly helped us in the last 10 minutes.

"We wanted to back ourselves and see where we are at. It's a nice performance and we get the victory to go with it. We stayed nice and calm and the plan was executed nicely. We were brave to back it up as well.

"We'll soak this up tonight and enjoy it, but the main thing is to be consistent again next week. Argentina are a good side, nice and strong and physical and we'll get back to work next week."

One of Ireland's star performers on the day was appropriately New Zealand-born Lowe, who scored the opening try of the game before putting in a vital tackle to stop an All Blacks counter-attack with the score at 23-20 late on.

Speaking to Channel 4, Lowe said: "It's amazing. Never in a million years did I think this day would come. Since [I was] a kid I dreamed of being an All Black.

"I gave up that dream, I wasn't quite good enough, but to put up a performance against the best team in the world. To stand in front of the haka, it's a childhood dream."

Ireland produced an outstanding performance to beat New Zealand 29-20 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Andy Farrell's men, spurred on by a raucous home crowd in Dublin which relished an intense display from the hosts, overwhelmed the All Blacks.

New Zealand kept themselves within touching distance throughout despite being second best in most metrics but were unable to overcome a spirited Ireland side.

The visitors came within yards of the opening try on 10 minutes but Ronan Kelleher crucially intercepted, before Codie Taylor was shown a yellow card in the 13th minute for a high tackle on Johnny Sexton.

Ireland took full advantage as James Lowe scored the first try of the game in the corner just over a minute later.

Despite being largely on top, Ireland went in 10-5 behind at the break after a Jordie Barrett penalty and a converted try from the returning Taylor.

Ireland started the second half brightly with Kelleher forcing the ball over for their second try, though Sexton missed his conversion for a second time.

The home crowd did not have to wait long to see their team ahead though as Caelan Doris raced away to score Ireland's third try, and it was third time lucky for Sexton with the extra two points, before adding another penalty before the hour mark to stretch the lead to 10 after a 15-point swing.

A rare lapse in concentration allowed the All Blacks to add another converted try through Will Jordan's 15th score of 2021 - no other player from a Tier 1 nation has reached double figures - but Joey Carbery added an Irish penalty straight after replacing Sexton, who came off with a head injury.

A disallowed New Zealand try was followed by a penalty that briefly reduced the gap to three, but a Carbery kick from the halfway line soon restored the six-point advantage, and another three from the same man just before the end saw Ireland home for a famous win.

Ireland close to perfect in Dublin

This was as good a performance as Farrell could have hoped for, and it is testament to his team that they probably should have won by more.

Ireland had 66 per cent of possession, 72 per cent of territory, almost three times as many carries (68-23) and more than three times as many passes (175-57).

All Blacks a shadow of usual selves

Ian Foster will have been less pleased with what he saw from the world's number one team, though will surely concede that the quality of his opponents on the day was a bigger factor than his own team’s performance.

This was just New Zealand's third defeat from 41 Tests in Europe (W38), with those other losses coming at the hands of Ireland (16-9 in November 2018) and England (38-21 in December 2012).

Kane Williamson is excited by the prospect of New Zealand pulling off a dream double when they face Australia in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday.

The Black Caps beat India to win the inaugural World Test Championship in June and they will contest a third consecutive ICC final at Dubai International Stadium this weekend.

New Zealand had never reached a T20 World Cup final before defeating England with a magnificent run chase on Wednesday and captain Williamson is urging his side to rise to the occasion when they do battle with their trans-Tasman rivals.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: "It'd be some achievement [to do the double],

"But where it stands at the moment is there's a game of cricket to play and for us it's focusing on that and focusing on our cricket and looking to go out there and implement the things that are important to us.

"These sort of events are of focus in the calendar and it's a really exciting opportunity to be here now and looking forward to the match tomorrow."

Australia also chased down a big total to upset Pakistan and moved into their second World Cup final in the shortest format, having lost to England in 2010.

Skipper Aaron Finch says Australia always had the belief they could defy the odds and go all the way to the final.

He said: "It wasn't unexpected. We came here with a clear plan to try and win this tournament. We always felt that we have the depth and quality to do that.

"A lot of people had written us off from the start, so it has been really impressive the way we have gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well and had match-defining performances at some point, the guys are up and about for tomorrow."

 

Conway blow hands Seifert unexpected chance

It was a memorable day for New Zealand when they knocked England out in midweek, but one of mixed emotions for Devon Conway.

The wicketkeeper-batsman made 46 before he was stumped giving Liam Livingstone the charge and he reacted by punching his bat, inflicting further pain on himself by breaking his hand.

Conway will miss the final as a result of that furious response to his dismissal, so Tim Seifert comes into the side.

Seifert has big shoes to fill, as Conway has been a revelation in his short international career so far. The left-hander scored 129 runs at an average of 32.25 in his first T20 World Cup.

Stand-in keeper Seifert made only eight in his only appearance of this tournament against Pakistan after coming in at seven in the order. He averages 24.24 in 33 T20I knocks.

 

Warner silencing the doubters

Questions were raised about David Warner's place in the Australia side ahead of the tournament after he was dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League.

The opener has shown his class in the United Arab Emirates, making 236 runs from six innings at an average of 47.20 

Only Matthew Hayden (265 in 2007) and Shane Watson (249 in 2012) have scored more for Australia in a single edition of a T20 World Cup.

Warner’s 35 boundaries in the campaign (28 fours, 7 sixes) are the joint-most by any player in the tournament (level with Mohammad Rizwan and Jos Buttler).

Australia showed the strength of their batting line-up in a five-wicket win over a Pakistan side that had won every match to cruise into the last four, Matthew Wade blasting a brilliant 41 not out off 17 balls and Marcus Stoinis making an unbeaten 40 after Warner's rapid 49.

New Zealand batsman Devon Conway has been ruled out of the T20 World Cup final after suffering a broken right hand.

The 30-year-old sustained the injury when he struck his bat in frustration after being dismissed in Wednesday's thrilling semi-final win over England in Abu Dhabi.

An X-ray on Thursday confirmed a break to the fifth metacarpal in his right hand.

Conway had been one of the Black Caps' stars in the win over England, striking 46 from 38 balls, but he will have to watch Sunday's clash with Australia from the stands.

He will also miss New Zealand's three T20Is in India following the final and two subsequent Tests against the same nation.

Coach Gary Stead said: "He's absolutely gutted to be ruled out like this at this time.

"Devon is hugely passionate about playing for the Black Caps and no one is more disappointed at the moment than he is, so we're really trying to rally around him.

"It looked a pretty innocuous reactionary incident on the field, but the blow obviously caught the bat between the glove padding, and while it's not the smartest thing he's done, there's certainly an element of bad luck in the injury."

Eoin Morgan hopes to be back leading England at next year's T20 World Cup after New Zealand narrowly ended his side's hopes of glory at the 2021 tournament.

New Zealand claimed a dramatic five-wicket victory in the first semi-final, chasing down 167 to book a place in the final against either Pakistan or Australia.

The 2022 event in Australia will offer England another opportunity to get over the line in the shortest form of the international game, having also suffered heartbreak in 2016 when they lost the final to West Indies.

Morgan will be 36 by then but still expects to be leading England, who are seeking another title on the global stage after their famous 50-over Cricket World Cup success in 2019.

"I hope to be back, I am still offering enough within the side and I absolutely love playing cricket at the moment for this changing room," Morgan said after the defeat.

"The guys give absolutely everything; they are always looking to get better.

"They are at the forefront of change both on and off the field and we have a lot of things to be proud about – not just on the field – so I am incredibly proud to be their leader.

"I can't fault anything that we've done, we have fought unbelievably hard and represented ourselves well, but came up short. 

"I am incredibly proud of the guys – they have given absolutely everything throughout this tournament." 

It was Daryl Mitchell's brilliant unbeaten half-century that put New Zealand into a first T20 World Cup final.

England posted 166-4 after being put in by Kane Williamson, Moeen Ali top scoring with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan (41 from 30) also playing a big hand.

New Zealand were in big trouble on 13-2 early in the run chase but a stand of 82 between Mitchell and Devon Conway (46 from 38) put the game in the balance.

A pulsating contest swung in New Zealand's favour when Chris Jordan conceded 23 runs from a 17th over that saw Jimmy Neesham (27 off 10) cut loose, and Mitchell (72no from 47) sent the Black Caps – who had needed 57 to win off the final four overs – through with six balls to spare.

Morgan felt his side were in with a chance until the final moments, adding: "We knew both sides were close in skill and play a good brand of cricket. 

"Full credit to Kane and his team, they outplayed us – unfortunately we have come out the wrong side in a tight game.

"It's hard to identify the key moments, I thought we were right in the game through our innings and then right until the 17th or 18th over. It was key at the end – they built up until they had to push the button, then it came good, their game plan came off. 

"Up until that point we had held them at bay to give ourselves a chance of winning.

"It was a sluggish pitch and we struggled to hit sixes when we batted, we hung in there, changed our game plan, adapted to conditions and posted probably a par score.

"We felt in the game at the halfway stage and then we took early wickets so it couldn't have been any better [at that stage].

"To have an ability to come out and hit sixes from ball one like [Neesham] is something not many people have so full credit to him, it swayed the game."

Kane Williamson hailed an "outstanding" innings from Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham's fireworks after New Zealand beat England in another thriller to reach their first T20 World Cup final.

The Black Caps were up against it when they needed 57 to win off the final four overs at Zayed Cricket Stadium after England had posted 166-4 in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

But opener Mitchell sealed a dramatic five-wicket win with an over to spare, finishing unbeaten on 72 from 47 balls after Neesham had blasted 27 from just 11 deliveries in Abu Dhabi.

The game had swung in England's favour when Liam Livingstone (2-22) conceded only three runs and dismissed Glenn Phillips in the 16th over, having also had Devon Conway (46) stumped.

Neesham then cut loose in a 17th over from Chris Jordan that went for 23 and although he fell to Adil Rashid, Mitchell finished off the job to set up a final against Pakistan or Australia in Dubai on Sunday.

New Zealand had been in big trouble on 13-2 after Chris Woakes dismissed Martin Guptill and Williamson, who was full of praise for Mitchell and Neesham.

The Black Caps skipper said during the post-match presentation: "We've played each other on a number of occasions, I knew it would be a great game of cricket, and really chuffed with the heart that was shown throughout that performance.

"It was outstanding from Mitchell at the top but cashing in on the match-ups [was vital]. His character stood out today, an incredible knock.

"T20 cricket is a game of small margins, depending on the surface, short side...can all be match-defining.

"We had wickets in hand, which was really important. Neesham came out and hit the ball hard and changed the momentum of the game. Ultimately the deciding factor."

Moeen Ali had top scored with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan made 41 after Williamson won the toss and put England in.

Daryl Mitchell's brilliant unbeaten half-century put New Zealand into a first T20 World Cup final as they gained revenge over England with a dramatic five-wicket victory.

England inflicted a heartbreaking defeat on the Black Caps in the 50-over World Cup final at Lord's in 2019, but it was New Zealand's day in a thrilling semi-final at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

England posted 166-4 after being put in by Kane Williamson, Moeen Ali top scoring with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan (41 from 30) also playing a big hand.

Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham took a wicket apiece for the Black Caps on a tense evening in Abu Dhabi, where Trent Boult's four wicketless overs went for 40 runs.

New Zealand were in big trouble on 13-2 after Chris Woakes dismissed the dangerous Martin Guptill and prolific captain Kane Williamson early in the run chase.

A stand of 82 between Mitchell and Devon Conway (46 from 38) put the game very much in the balance and it looked like England were heading into the final after the excellent Liam Livingstone (2-22) struck twice.

A pulsating semi-final swung in New Zealand's favour when Chris Jordan conceded 23 runs from a 17th over that saw Neesham cut loose, having a slice of fortune when Jonny Bairstow caught him on the boundary but his leg touched the rope before he could toss the ball back inside the boundary to Livingstone.

Neesham fell for a crucial 27 off 10 balls, but clean striking and composure from Mitchell (72no from 47) saw the Black Caps through to a final against Pakistan or Australia on Sunday with an over to spare, having needed 57 to win off the final four overs.

 

Moeen motors after Malan lays platform

Moeen and Malan put on 63 for the third wicket after Jos Buttler (29) and Jonny Bairstow (13) - opening with Jason Roy ruled out - departed.

Conway dropped Malan on 10 as England got a move on in the second half of the innings, scoring a further 99 after they were 67-2 after 10 overs, and Mitchell Santner bowled only the one over due to the left-handers being at the crease.

Malan struck a flurry of glorious cover drives, while Moeen cleared the rope twice and Livingstone struck a huge straight six before he fell in a final over from Neesham that ended with Eoin Morgan dropped by Glenn Phillips from the final delivery.

 

Mitchell the man as Black Caps break new ground

Woakes saw the back of Guptill off the third ball of the run chase and also claimed the big wicket of Williamson, who was taken by Adil Rashid for only five attempting a scoop in the third over.

Conway and Mitchell steadied the ship before the left-hander gave Livingstone the charge in the 14th over and was stumped by Buttler when he was looking in ominous touch.

The spin of Livingstone also accounted for Glenn Phillips, but Neesham hit three sixes as Jordan endured a nightmare and the brilliant Mitchell - who struck four sixes and as many fours - finished off what had looked like an unlikely victory to leave England stunned.

Eoin Morgan says it would be a "hell of an achievement" for injury-hit England to beat New Zealand and reach the T20 World Cup final.

England and the Black Caps do battle at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday in a repeat of the 50-over World Cup final in 2019, when Morgan's side were crowned champions in the most dramatic fashion at Lord's.

Jason Roy has joined Tymal Mills on an injury list that already included Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes.

England have won three of their past four T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, one of those coming in a semi-final five years ago.

Captain Morgan says it would be a huge feat if they could defeat Kane Williamson's side once again in Abu Dhabi to set up a showdown with Pakistan or Australia.

The batsman said: "I wouldn't say [England are] strong favourites. New Zealand have a full-strength squad, we've obviously been hampered with a lot of injuries throughout this tournament.

"I think of all the things we've done well throughout this tournament, probably the strongest point has been the resilience within our squad to be able to find a way to move forward and forge on.

"We're playing really good cricket, the guys are extremely excited about the challenge against New Zealand and potentially the opportunity that might follow that.

"You might only get to the final and lose but getting to the final would be a hell of an achievement. We can't wait."

 

Morgan refused to be drawn on who will replace Roy at the top of the order to partner Jos Buttler, with another bowler coming into the side being one of the options.

"Within the group we’ve made a decision, I'm not willing to share that, unfortunately, but also the balance of the side will be determined on how the wicket looks and how we match-up against the Black Caps," Morgan added.

"Replacing him with another bowler would mean that you have 28 genuine overs on the field and a lot of options. If you were to go with a batter, it would mean a like-for-like replacement.

"Depending if it's a really good batting wicket, predicting if it's going to be a really good batting wicket, we might need the extra bit of bowling. If it's not, you might need the extra bit of batting.

"We're lucky, we have guys who queue up and want to bat in that top three, which is great because they want to go head-to-head with the big-name players in the tournament and big-name bowlers in the opposition."

Black Caps skipper Williamson knows England have the strength in depth to replace Roy.

He said: "I suppose whenever there's an injury, someone else comes in and you're not to know who they are until the toss. But you try and prepare and plan as best you can and then when you go out there, you're sort of competing in the moment.

"And that all matters then. But Jason's a big player for England and has been playing really nicely and getting the team off to good starts along with Jos.

"But as I mentioned, the depth on the England side is one of their strengths and we'll try and plan accordingly to the best of our ability.

"But largely [we] want to focus on the sort of cricket that we want to play as a group and keep developing on that as we've been doing throughout this tournament."

Rohit Sharma has been named captain for India's upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

The three-match home series, which begins on November 17, will be the first since Virat Kohli's decision to step down after the T20 World Cup.

Kohli, who will stay on as ODI and Test captain, led India in the short format for the final time on Monday, as the pre-tournament favourites bowed out of the World Cup with victory over Namibia.

The 33-year-old captained his nation in 50 T20Is – winning 30 and losing 16 – while scoring 1,570 runs, including 114 boundaries and 59 sixes.

 

Kohli is one of several notable absentees from the squad to face the Black Caps next week along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

Rohit will take over as skipper – with KL Rahul as his deputy – although it is yet to be confirmed whether he will be given the role on a permanent basis.

Following his knock of 56 against Namibia, Rohit became one of only three players – along with Kohli – to reach 3,000 T20I runs, while he has averaged 32.66 in 108 innings.

 

India T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj.

New Zealand suffered a heartbreaking defeat to England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final but they have a chance to gain a measure of revenge on Wednesday.

England were crowned 50-over world champions at Lord's in the most dramatic fashion, with a Super Over needed to finally separate the two teams in a thriller.

The Black Caps and England do battle in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup at Zayed Cricket Stadium after qualifying from the Super 12 stage along with Pakistan and Australia.

England have won six of the past nine T20Is against New Zealand, including another Super-Over triumph in their last meeting in November 2019.

They have also won three of their past four T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, one of those coming in a semi-final five years ago.

The top-ranked side in the world will have to do without explosive opening batsman Jason Roy, who joined paceman Tymal Mills on the injury list when he suffered a torn calf in the loss to South Africa on Saturday.

New Zealand took second place in Group 2 by beating Afghanistan on Sunday, their fourth win in a row after starting with a defeat to Pakistan.

Stats Perform looks at selection decisions to be made in Abu Dhabi and pick out who might be the key players in a blockbuster last-four showdown.

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.

New Zealand extended their 100 per cent winning record against Italy to 15 games as they scored a crushing 47-9 win in Rome – setting a record for the most points in a calendar year.

The visitors, who named an entirely different line-up to the side that swept past Wales last week in Cardiff, were held scoreless in an error-strewn opening 25 minutes. However, the eventual drubbing meant New Zealand took their 2021 points haul to 675, beating the previous best of 658 set in 2007 by South Africa.

Finlay Christie broke the deadlock when he scrambled in after the All Blacks pushed the Azzurri back at a scrum. Dane Coles added a second moments later as New Zealand power won out again, and the same player grabbed a third shortly before half-time too.

Italy, in action for the first time since losing all five of their games in a dismal Six Nations showing, had new coach Kieran Crowley – a former All Blacks full-back– at the helm.

A pair of penalties from Paolo Garbisi put them on the board, and he added a third after the interval to briefly trim New Zealand's lead to 12 points, but Sevu Reece bounded through tiring blue jerseys for a fourth All Blacks try just after the hour, with Asafo Aumua grabbing a late close-range double and Hoskins Sotutu dashing down the wing to pile on the points.

Richie Mo'unga missed the conversion attempt from Aumua's second try, having successfully booted the extras for each of the previous five-pointers.

New Zealand, having beaten the United States, Wales and now Italy, face two more games on their tour, against Ireland in Dublin next Saturday, followed by France on November 20 in Paris.

New Zealand negotiated a Super 12 win over Namibia with minimal fuss, prevailing by 52 runs to maintain control of their semi-final fate at the T20 World Cup.

The Black Caps came into Friday's match third in Group 2 but crucially two points ahead of India with a superior net run rate.

And although Namibia initially kept the New Zealand batsmen quiet, there was to be no great upset, meaning Kane Williamson's men can book their place in the last four by beating Afghanistan – also still in contention – in their final match.

There may have been some Kiwi nerves when they stumbled to 87-4 through 14 overs having been put in to bat, with captain Williamson a big scalp, bowled for 28 by opposite number Gerhard Erasmus (1-22).

But Glenn Phillips (39 not out) and James Neesham (35 not out) then combined for an unbeaten 76 to reach 163-4 in a devastating finish to the innings, as five sixes across the last four overs included 21 runs off David Wiese in the 18th alone.

The task with the bat then got away from Namibia, who stuck with New Zealand's early run rate but lacked the same acceleration in the closing stages.

Nobody topped opener Michael van Lingen's contribution of 25, fittingly ended by Neesham, as the chase fell well short on 111-7.

Erasmus efforts in vain

Namibia captain Erasmus had bowled only two overs at this World Cup prior to this point but took on a far more prominent role in a bid to slow New Zealand. It was successful as he conceded only 22 runs from his four overs.

However, he then put the ball in the hands of his team-mates in the closing stages of the innings and saw them punished ruthlessly by Phillips and Neesham. In reply, Erasmus could score only three.

Southee stunts chase hopes

Having starred with the bat, Neesham's dismissal of Van Lingen was a big one, ending a stand of 47 for the first wicket. However, Namibia were still in contention deep into their innings due to New Zealand's slow start.

But Tim Southee stepped up in good time to lead the All Blacks comfortably across the finish line. Wiese had averaged 61.7 at this World Cup, the best efforts of any batsman from a non-Test playing nation, but he went lbw to Southee, who also accounted for Zane Smith en route to figures of 2-15 from four overs. He now has wickets in eight straight T20I innings.

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