India’s T20 World Cup hopes hang by thread after defeat by New Zealand

New Zealand kick-started their Twenty20 World Cup campaign with a crushing eight-wicket victory which leaves India’s semi-final hopes hanging by a thread. Trent Boult took three wickets and player of the match Ish Sodhi two as the Black Caps restricted the 2007 champions to just 110 for seven during the opening innings of the Super 12s match in Dubai.

Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 26 gave India faint hope of keeping their last-four aspirations in their own hands but New Zealand made light work of the modest total, wrapping up victory with 33 balls to spare. Daryl Mitchell fell one short of a half-century for the Kiwis, while captain Kane Williamson posted 33 not out, including the decisive run.

Both sides came into the crunch contest with work to do having each suffered defeats to Group Two leaders Pakistan in their respective opening matches of the tournament. After winning the toss and opting to field, the Black Caps swiftly set about dismantling their opponents’ top order.

Ishan Kishan was dismissed by Boult for four and, although progress was momentarily halted when Adam Milne dropped a regulation catch to remove Rohit Sharma for a duck, India had posted just 48 for four when captain Virat Kohli departed for nine on the opening ball of the 11th over.

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Afghanistan beat Namibia


Asghar Afghan ended his Afghanistan career on a high with 31 off 23 balls as his side bounced back from their agonising T20 World Cup defeat to Pakistan last time out by brushing aside Namibia in Abu Dhabi. 

The former Afghanistan captain surprisingly revealed that the match against Namibia would be the last of his international career after Asif Ali’s four sixes in the penultimate over had propelled Pakistan to a win on Friday. He was given a guard of honour by his teammates after being dismissed as Afghanistan racked up 160 for five having elected to bat first, a total that proved beyond Namibia, who were restricted to 98 for nine to lose by 62 runs.

An emotional Afghan, who represented his country in six Tests, 114 one-day internationals and 75 T20s, said at the halfway stage of the match: “I want to give a chance to youngsters. I think this is a good opportunity for that. Most people are asking me why now, but it’s something I cannot explain. In the last match, we were hurt too much, and that’s why I decided to retire. There are plenty of memories, it’s difficult for me, but I have to retire.”

Hazratullah Zazai (33) and Mohammad Shahzad (45) put on 53 for the first wicket, laying the foundations for a decent total for Afghanistan, with an unbeaten 32 off 17 balls from Mohammad Nabi, the captain, helping them finish with a flourish.

Although Afghanistan were without Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who was deemed unfit for this game, their bowling attack still had too much for a Namibia side that claimed a famous win over Scotland in their opening Super 12s fixture on Wednesday.

Hamid Hassan came in for Mujeeb and the fast bowler profited from the spinner’s absence with sensational figures of three for nine from four overs, while his fellow quick Naveen-ul-Haq also took three wickets as Namibia fell well short. PA Media

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India-born spinner Sodhi claimed the prized scalp of Kohli, tempting him into a slog sweep which was caught by Boult at long on, having earlier dismissed Sharma for 14. New Zealand’s dominance dampened the atmosphere among the considerable Indian support inside the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

However, a slight blemish saw them concede 16 runs off the final eight deliveries, including a superb six from Jadeja, to add a little more interest to the chase. India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah managed to dismiss openers Martin Guptill and Mitchell for 20 and 49 respectively but experienced skipper Williamson expertly steered his side to a comfortable win with more than five overs remaining.

New Zealand return to action against Scotland on Wednesday, while India’s salvage operation begins when they meet Afghanistan later that day.

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