India kept their slim hopes of reaching the Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with a crushing 66-run win over Afghanistan.
Facing elimination if they lost a third successive game, India made a stunning statement as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul shared a majestic opening stand of 140 in Abu Dhabi.
Rohit made 74 off 47 balls and Rahul 69 off 48, before Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya sustained the onslaught to carry India to 210 for two, the highest score of the tournament.
Afghanistan never looked capable of chasing 211 and their ambition turned to limiting the severity of defeat to protect their superior net run-rate, which determines who progresses if multiple teams finish equal on the same points.
After slipping to 69 for five in the 12th over, Karim Janat and captain Mohammad Nabi, who scored 42 not out and 35, respectively, helped Afghanistan reach 144 for seven.
The margin of victory keeps India in a thrilling three-team race with Afghanistan and New Zealand for the second semi-final spot behind Group 2 leaders Pakistan.
New Zealand will go through if they beat Namibia and Afghanistan, regardless of other results.
But if the Black Caps lose either game, India – who face Scotland and Namibia – will qualify if they win both their games and overhaul Afghanistan and New Zealand’s run rates.
Meanwhile, Scotland were eliminated from the Men’s T20 World Cup by a 16-run defeat against New Zealand.
Opener Martin Guptill hit a terrific 93 off 56 balls as New Zealand recovered from 52 for three to post 172 for five in Dubai.
In a spirited reply, Scotland were going well at 100 for three after 14 overs but fell short despite Michael Leask’s brutal unbeaten 42 off 20 balls.
Victory renewed New Zealand’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals from Group 1 of the Super 12s. (BBC Sport)