T20 World Cup: Afghanistan manage 124/8 against NZ; Zadran shine
Afghanistan have racked up 124/8 against New Zealand in their final Super 12 encounter of the T20 World Cup. They had a terrible start after electing to bat in Abu Dhabi. However, Najibullah Zadran rose to occasion with an incredible half-century. He received due support from skipper Mohammad Nabi. Notably, India will stay alive in the semis race if Afghanistan successfully defend this total.
Afghanistan scored only 23/3 in the powerplay
The New Zealand bowlers completely jeopardized Afghanistan in the first six overs. Mohammad Shahzad (4) and Hazratullah Zazai (2) managed just seven runs in the opening two overs. Adam Milne and Trent Boult removed the two openers thereafter. In the sixth over, Tim Southee got rid of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (6). Afghanistan managed only 23/3 in the powerplay.
Powerplay: A look at the interesting numbers
As per Cricbuzz, Afghanistan was the second-fastest scoring side in the powerplay (8.38) before today's match. Meanwhile, New Zealand picked the fewest wickets (4) in this phase. Interestingly, Afghanistan has registered the lowest score in the powerplay (T20 WC) today. Their previous lowest was 47/2 vs India. On the other hand, New Zealand took three wickets (powerplay) in this match alone.
Ish Sodhi struck in the 10th over
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was brought into the attack in the 10th over. He provided New Zealand a breakthrough in the form of Gulbadin Naib on the over's final ball. Sodhi has struck in his first over of every match in the ongoing T20 WC (vs Pak: sixth ball, vs Ind: fourth ball, vs Scotland: fifth ball, vs Namibia: second ball, vs Afghanistan: sixth ball).
Sixth T20I half-century for Najibullah Zadran
Najibullah Zadran came to bat after Afghanistan were reduced to 19/3. The left-handed batter brought them back in the hunt. He eventually raced to his sixth T20I half-century. Zadran shared two crucial stands, with Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi. The former smashed 73 (48) with the help of 6 fours and 3 sixes. This was his second fifty in the T20 World Cup.
Decoding the qualification scenario
New Zealand will be through to the semi-finals if they win this match. Otherwise, India will be in contention to qualify. If Afghanistan beat the Kiwis, then India will be the favorites to reach the semis, provided they overcome Namibia in their final match.