T20 World Cup, NZ vs Afghanistan: Preview, stats, and more
New Zealand and Afghanistan will lock horns in what will be their final Super 12 match of the 2021 T20 World Cup. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium will host the afternoon encounter. NZ will qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Afghanistan. Otherwise, it will be a three-way tie between the Kiwis, Afghanistan, and India. Here is the match preview.
Key details about the match
The match will be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. It will begin at 3:30 PM IST. The teams preferred fielding first on this venue in the tournament's first half. However, four of the last five matches have been won by the teams batting first. One can watch the match live on the Star Sports Network and stream the same on Disney+ Hotstar.
Decoding the qualification scenario (Group 2)
The Indians will hope that Afghanistan beat New Zealand so that all three teams are in contention for the semis berth. India moved to the third spot in Group 2 after beating Scotland. They have the best Net Run Rate among all teams (+1.619). If the Kiwis lose the impending game, the team with the highest NRR will be through.
New Zealand would want to carry their momentum
New Zealand bounced back in style after losing their opener to Pakistan. The Kiwis have made minimal changes to the XI so far. Although they missed the services of injured Lockie Ferguson, the bowling attack has done well. Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (captain), Devon Conway (wicket-keeper), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.
Will Mujeeb Ur Rahman return to the XI?
Afghanistan have to be at their best in order to beat the Kiwis. They need the services of Rashid Khan, and would hope that Mujeeb Ur Rahman gets fit for the clash. The latter missed the last two matches. Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wicket-keeper), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (captain), Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan.
Tim Southee eyes a significant milestone
In the upcoming game, Tim Southee could overtake Lasith Malinga to become the second-highest T20I wicket-taker. At the moment, the NZ pace spearhead has 104 wickets from 87 T20Is at an average of 24.82. The top two wicket-takers are Shakib Al Hasan (117) and Malinga (107). Earlier in the tournament, Southee became only the third bowler to take 100 wickets in the format.