Black Caps are on the brink of the T20 World Cup after defeat to Afghanistan… with New Zealand needing to win the crunch clash against West Indies on Thursday

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  • Afghanistan took pole position in Group C after beating New Zealand
  • Black Caps’ hopes for the T20 World Cup will now rest on a clash against the West Indies



Afghanistan boosted themselves towards qualification for the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup with a crushing win over New Zealand in Providence, Guyana.

The 84-point winning margin has put Rashid Khan’s team in pole position in Group C with four points – and a huge net run-rate advantage that will feel like an extra point. It has put immense pressure on the New Zealanders ahead of their meeting with the West Indies on Thursday.

New Zealand, semi-finalists in each of the previous three tournaments, are bottom of the group table, below Papua New Guinea, after falling to 75 all out while chasing 160.

“It’s one of the best performances for us in T20s against a big team like New Zealand,” Khan said.

The bulk of Afghanistan’s 159 for six was provided by opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who punished 80 off 56 deliveries.

Afghanistan climbed to the top of Group C at the T20 World Cup with an impressive win over New Zealand
Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 80 out of 56 points delivered to put Afghanistan on track to an impressive victory

Wicketkeeper Rahmanullah followed up his 76 against tournament debutants Uganda earlier this week by sharing a century stand for the first wicket with Ibrahim Zadran, whose contribution was 44 from 41 balls.

Afghanistan’s first win over the Black Caps in the T20 internationals was then sealed by their brilliant bowling attack. Left-armer Fazalhaq Farooqi took four for 17 off 20 deliveries, while wrist spinner Rashid replicated these figures.

Three Farooqi strikes in the powerplay left New Zealand reeling and the match was effectively over when Rashid dismissed Kane Williamson with the first ball outside the box.

“They simply surpassed us in every facet,” Williamson said.

Elsewhere, Bangladesh opened their tournament with a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a low-scoring thriller.

That defeat in Dallas all but ends any hopes of progress beyond Group D for Sri Lanka and their England head coach Chris Silverwood.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson conceded after his side were outplayed in all facets of the game

After setting the Bengals a target of 125 runs, Sri Lanka in response reduced their opponents to 28 for three, but Towhid Hridoy hit 40 off 20 deliveries, including four sixes, to get them back on track.

The match took a new twist as Bangladesh slumped to 113 for eight but Mahmudullah crunched the first ball of the 19th over, sent down by Dasun Shanaka, over the ropes and an overturn of the last set of things.