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T20 World Cup 2021: Indian prayers with Afghanistan as semis hopes hinge on New Zealand defeat

New Zealand takes on Afghanistan in Super 12 of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup on Sunday. While it is a must-win for the Kiwis, a defeat would significantly boost India's chances of making it to the semis.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021, New Zealand vs Afghanistan (Group 2, Super 12): Players to watch, head-to-head, pitch, probable, fantasy xi, live streaming-ayh
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Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates, First Published Nov 6, 2021, 6:21 PM IST
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New Zealand will have a keen-witted task at hand when it takes on Afghanistan in the Group 2 Super 12 clash of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. While a win would seal NZ's semis berth, a loss would considerably boost the chances of India. As the Indian prayers lie with the Afghans, we present the match preview of this exciting game.

Current form
New Zealand has played four games, winning three and losing one while losing both warm-up ties. As for Afghanistan, it has also played four, winning and losing a couple each, while in the warm-ups, it had won and lost apiece. Therefore, going by the current form, it could be a catchy tie, while the Kiwis have the upper hand.

LIVE SCORECARD: ICC T20 World Cup 2021 - New Zealand vs Afghanistan (Group 2, Super 12)

Team strength & weaknesses, and players to watch out
As far as the sides are concerned, New Zealand is equally balanced. While its batting can turn out to be somewhat weak due to fewer specialist ones, its classy bowling can cover it up. Skipper Kane Williamson, along with Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee, could turn out to be the best impact-makers.

In the meantime, Afghanistan is has a strong batting line-up. As for its bowling, it possesses some top bowlers who can give a tough time to the Kiwis. Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Shahzad are almost sure to put on a show with the bat. At the same time, Rashid Khan and Mujeed-ur-Rahman would be tough to tackle with their spins.

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Injury concerns, head-to-head, weather and pitch report
None of the sides has any considerable injury concerns. The two teams would be meeting for the first time in the format. The weather in Abu Dhabi would be heated, with an expected temperature of 32 degrees and 45% humidity. As for the pitch, it would be batting friendly, while the side winning the toss would still prefer to chase.

Probable XI
NZ:
Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway (wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Adam Milne, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
AFG: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf/Mujeeb ur Rehman, Naveen ul Haq and Hamid Hassan.

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Fantasy XI
Batters:
Guptill, Zadran, Mitchell- Guptill would give the perfect start, along with Zadran at number three, while Mitchell would consolidate in the middle.
Wicketkeeper: Shahzad- Shahzad has been the man in the form here, especially as an opener.
All-rounders: Nabi, Niab- Both these players have impacted with the ball, while Nabi can act as a finisher with the bat.
Bowlers: Southee, Boult (vc), Sodhi, Rashid (c), Mujeeb- Southee and Boult have been deadly with their pace, while the latter's consistency makes him the deputy captain. The remaining three are no-brainers here for their outstanding spinning abilities, while Rahid's reliability makes him the skipper.

Match details
Date and day:
November 7, 2021 (Sunday)
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Time: 3.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar

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