New Zealand's Kane Williamson and India's Virat Kohli before the match in Dubai
New Zealand's Kane Williamson and India's Virat Kohli. India will be watching tomorrow's Afghanistan vs New Zealand match very closely... Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Millions of cricket fans across the world will be eagerly watching tomorrow’s (Sunday) contest between Afghanistan and New Zealand at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. India’s progress in the tournament hinges on the outcome of this contest, hence the clash has created an immense interest among the fans.

There are many plots and sub-plots to this contest where all three teams – New Zealand, Afghanistan and India – are running with a chance to grab one semi-final spot on offer in Group 2.

Last four

In a first scenario, New Zealand are in pole position with six points already in the bag. Should the Black Caps win the clash, then they sail into the last four stage and end India’s dream.

However, the incentive for Afghanistan to win the clash is, a victory will put them on par with New Zealand and as they enjoy a better net run rate, will then hope Namibia will beat India on Monday or at least run them close to give the youngest Test-playing nation a chance to be in the World Cup semi-finals.

The outcome of the clash will be eagerly followed by the prospective semi-final opponents as a resurgent Indian team is in ominous form, however a little too late for comfort.

New Zealand have not been even have best as they had against India in Dubai, surviving two close matches against Namibia and Scotland.

Dropped catches

Opener Martin Guptill’s big six-hitting saved the day for the Black Caps against Scotland. A few dropped catches also did not assist the qualifiers as New Zealand won the match by 16 runs. Again New Zealand were held in firm wise-like grip by Namibia on a low-bounce wicket at Sharjah. The southwest Africans buckled under pressure in the final overs due to their inexperience, which allowed the Black Caps to sneak through.

Against Afghanistan they will not be able to achieve that as they have the experience to hold their nerves in crucial stages of the game. Batting is still a cause for worry for New Zealand, especially the form of skipper Kane Williamson.

Afghanistan are showing a brave approach to their game, trying to chase even a daunting 210 by India in their previous game. Their bowling has been their pillar of strength, which had an off day against the rampaging Indian batsmen. But they are unlikely to repeat the same mistake again in Abu Dhabi where they have won many a battles after playing most their home games at the venue.