India thrash Afghanistan by 66 runs to avoid early exit
India kept their slim hopes of reaching the Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with a crushing 66-run win over Afghanistan.
Facing elimination if they lost a third successive game, India made a stunning statement as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul shared a majestic opening stand of 140 in Abu Dhabi.
Rohit made 74 off 47 balls and Rahul 69 off 48, before Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya sustained the onslaught to carry India to 210-2, the highest score of the tournament.
Afghanistan never looked capable of chasing 211 and their ambition turned to limiting the severity of defeat to protect their superior net run-rate, which determines who progresses if multiple teams finish equal on the same points in Group 2 of the Super 12s.
After slipping to 69-5 in the 12th over, Karim Janat and captain Mohammad Nabi, who made 42 not out and 35 respectively, helped Afghanistan reach 144-7.
The margin of victory keeps India in a thrilling three-team race with Afghanistan and New Zealand for the second semi-final spot behind Group 2 leaders Pakistan.
Afghanistan are currently second on four points, but New Zealand – winners over Scotland earlier on Wednesday – also have four points and a game in hand, while India, now on two points, have two games left to play as well.
New Zealand will go through if they beat Namibia and Afghanistan, regardless of other results.
But if the Black Caps lose either game, India – who face Scotland and Namibia – will qualify if they win both their games and overhaul Afghanistan and New Zealand’s net run rates.
India: 210/2 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 74, KL Rahul 69, Hardik Pandya 35*, Rishabh Pant 27*, Gulbadin Naib 1/39, Karim Janat 1/7)
Afghanistan: 144/7 in 20 overs (Karim Janat 42*, Mohammad Nabi 35, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 19, Mohammed Shami 3/32, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/14) (BBC)