Thursday, Aug 18, 2022

Afghanistan Not Going To Play For India, Eye T20 World Cup Semis With Win Vs New Zealand

Hashmatullah Shahidi said Afghanistan were banking on their spinner and responsible batting versus New Zealand on Sunday. A Kiwi win will end India's chances of making the T20 World Cup semis.

Afghanistan must beat New Zealand to stay in contention for a semifinal berth in T20 World Cup 2021. A defeat for AFG means NZ qualify ahead of India. AP

A billion Indians may be cheering for Afghanistan to beat New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon but if Hashmatullah Shahidi is to be believed, the Afghans are not distracted by India's chances to enter the T20 World Cup 2021 semifinals as the second team from Group 2. (POINTS TABLE)

With England and Australia finishing 1-2 in Group 1, three teams -- New Zealand, India and Afghanistan -- remain in contention for the second semifinal spot from Group 2. Pakistan, who play Scotland in the evening match on Sunday, have already qualified.

"We only focus on ourselves, our team. Our main focus is how we qualify for semifinals (and not India or New Zealand). So we will go with that. And our focus is only on us. So we'll do our best to qualify for the semifinal," said Shahidi, who added that only spinners won't be able to win the game against New Zealand.

"Our batsmen have to take the responsibility and only then we can see good results," said Shahidi, who admitted that Afghanistan's biggest strength were spinners, Rashid Khan and captain Mohammad Nabi. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, said Shahidi, was uncertain.

Indian fans are praying for an Afghanistan win against New Zealand on Sunday. But if New Zealand win in Abu Dhabi the Kiwis qualify for the semis and Monday's match between India and Namibia will be a mere formality.

Here are some semifinal qualification scenarios:

After a thumping win over Afghanistan, India took their net run rate from -1.609 to +0.073. Then, a massive victory over Scotland further bolstered India's NRR, taking it to +1.619. The win against Scotland took India to third spot in the Group 2 standings with four points, leapfrogging Afghanistan on NRR.

Despite the massive NRR boost, India's semifinal hopes are pinned on the result of the New Zealand-Afghanistan game. Second in the group with six points, New Zealand have their fate in their own hands.

What happens if New Zealand win?

It's quite simple for the Black Caps - win the game, qualify for the semi-finals without NRR coming into the picture or lose the game and they are out of the tournament. A win for the Kiwis will take them to eight points, which will be out of India's reach, thus eliminating Virat Kohli's team before the game against Namibia. Quite simply, a victory for New Zealand is the worst possible result for India.

What happens if Afghanistan win?

While an Afghanistan win opens a big door for India, the Afghans themselves will be in with a strong chance to qualify if they beat New Zealand by a handsome margin. If they do, they would be hoping for an upset from Namibia against India, which would see them qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC event for the first time in their history. If Afghanistan beat New Zealand, India will have to keep NRR in mind when they face Namibia.

What do India need to do?

All of India's hopes are currently pinned on Afghanistan. If Afghanistan win against New Zealand, India themselves will have to beat Namibia by a margin that keeps their net run rate above Afghanistan. On the net run rate (NRR) front, it is advantage India at the moment, who have the best net run rate in Group 2.

(With inputs from ICC)


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