All eyes will be on the New Zealand vs Afghanistan clash on Saturday, with India’s hopes of making the T20 World Cup semi-finals hinging on the result. India desperately need Afghanistan to win to keep their hopes of making the semi-final alive as a win for Kane Williamson’s side will knock them out of contention. Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar is hoping for a result in India’s favour but believes the fitness of spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman will be key to Afghanistan’s prospects.
Speaking on Star Sports after India’s thumping win over Scotland, former captain Sunil Gavaskar hoped that Mujee ur Rahman was fit for the game against New Zealand, as the spinner will “boost their attack” which could hurt New Zealand Mujeeb has missed the last two games due to an injury, with Afghanistan losing both those games. Gavaskar feels that a three-man spin attack could hurt New Zealand subsequently adding to India’s chances of making the semi-final.
The former Indian captain said, “I just want Mujeeb to be fit for that game. That would mean an additional mystery spinner against New Zealand. If he along with Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi can weave their magic then…Yesterday against Afghanistan India got a little toe in. Now they will have to hold forte. If Afghanistan beat New Zealand, they have smashed the door. Mujeeb is going to be such a key element for that game because he is very difficult to pick just like Varun Chakravarthy and he has got a little more experience than him. So he and Rashid Khan are going to be the key.”
- Pakistan have already qualified from the group, with India, New Zealand and Afghanistan in a three-horse race to take the last T20 World Cup semi-final spot.
- New Zealand are currently in second place, with Afghanistan and India trailing heading into the final game of the group stage.
- A win for New Zealand will see them qualify for the semi-finals, while Afghanistan and India will be knocked out.
- Wins for Afghanistan and India will see the three teams tied on six points, meaning net run rate will be a deciding factor.
- Virat Kohli and Co. are currently ahead in terms of net run-rate, after their thumping win over Scotland on Friday.
India will have their eyes on the Sunday game between Afghanistan and New Zealand. If Nabi’s men can pull off the upset against the Blackcaps, India, with a superior net run-rate than the two nations, will have a big opportunity to sneak past them and join Pakistan in the semis, given they beat Namibia in their final group game.