ICC T20 World Cup 2021, New Zealand vs Afghanistan: Indian fans pray for Afghan victory as Men in Blue’s semi-final hopes hang in balance

An Afghanistan win will mean only them or India can take up the last semi-final spot from Group 2. (Twitter/ICC)

ICC T20 World Cup 2021, New Zealand vs Afghanistan today: New Zealand take on Afghanistan in a critical Super 12 match at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium today. The result will carry huge significance not just for the two teams involved but also India, whose hopes of qualifying for the semi-final rests on the outcome.

As things stand, all three of Afghanistan, New Zealand, and India can qualify for the semi-final; Pakistan have already clinched one spot in the last four. However, the equation isn’t straightforward.

New Zealand only need a victory to join Pakistan in the semi-final. If Kane Williamson’s side beat Afghanistan, they will qualify for the last four at the expense of India and Afghanistan. If New Zealand lose, it will leave the door open for either India or Afghanistan and knock the Kiwis out.

An Afghanistan win will mean only them or India can take up the last semi-final spot from Group 2. Which team qualifies in such a scenario will depend on the team’s net run-rate, assuming India beat Namibia in their final match on Monday.

Afghanistan will have six points with a win against New Zealand. It will also boost their net run-rate, which currently stands at +1.481.

India boast a superior net run-rate of +1.619. If Afghanistan win today, India can seal their spot in the last four by beating Namibia and maintaining a higher net run-rate than Afghanistan.

Indian Twitter backs Afghans: Indian fans on Twitter have pinned their hopes on Afghanistan pulling off an upset that favours the Men in Blue. There has been an outpouring of support for the likes of Rashid Khan, who are familiar faces in the Indian Premier League (IPL) circuit.

From memes to prayers to hopes of rain, Indian fans have lent firm support to the Asian country. However, they have also a caveat — even if they win, they should not win with such a margin that puts India on the backfoot.

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