India vs Afghanistan: what both now need to reach T20 World Cup semi-finals

Despite a 66-run over Afghanistan, progress to the last four is far from assured for India

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul powered India to victory over Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday as the pre-tournament favourites finally registered a win at the T20 World Cup.

A 47-ball 74 by Rohit and Rahul's haul of 69 from 48 balls laid the foundations for India to post a target of 210 runs that proved well beyond the Afghans.

With points finally on the board, here is what Virat Kohli's India need to secure a place in the semi-finals.

What did a win mean for India?

Victory at Zayed Cricket Stadium has given India a lifeline in Group 2 following heavy defeats to arch-rivals Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two matches.

India needed a big win against Afghanistan to address their poor net run rate. Their 66-run victory improved it to 0.073 from -1.609 pre-match.

India move above Namibia into fourth place in the group. With unbeaten Pakistan the runaway leaders on eight points, it leaves only one place up for grabs to reach the semi-finals.

What did a loss mean for Afghanistan?

India was the team's first real test after comfortable wins over Scotland and Namibia.

After winning the toss and putting India into bat, the Afghans got nowhere close in reply, even if Rahmanullah Gurbaz briefly hinted that they might be able to.

Mohammed Nabi's side stay second despite the defeat on four points ahead of New Zealand via a superior net run rate.

India and Afghan fans in Abu Dhabi

What do India need to do to qualify?

While talk of India's demise may have been exaggerated, they still need to win their next two games by big margins and hope results go their way.

Holding up their end of the bargain shouldn't be an issue - India's remaining matches are against fifth- and sixth-placed Namibia and Scotland. Two wins will give India six points and improve their net run rate, which is likely to determine who joins Pakistan in the semi-finals.

New Zealand's victory over Scotland on Wednesday means the Black Caps are third on four points with a net run rate of 0.816. Assuming New Zealand beat Namibia, the final game against Afghanistan becomes all-important. A win for New Zealand will give them eight points, while a victory for Afghanistan will put them on six.

Should the latter scenario play out - with Afghanistan, New Zealand and India all tied on six points - the team with a better run rate will sneak through.

What do Afghanistan need to qualify?

If Afghanistan are to carry on their T20 World Cup fairytale they need to beat New Zealand in their final match and finish the group with a superior net run rate to both India and the Kiwis.

With India facing the weakest two teams in the group in their remaining matches, Afghanistan ideally would need Namibia to beat New Zealand before inflicting defeat themselves on Kane Williamson's side in their final match.

That scenario leaves New Zealand out of the running on four points, and Afghanistan level with India on six points, with the team with the superior run rate progressing to the last four.

India remaining fixtures

v Scotland, Dubai – November 5

v Namibia, Dubai – November 8

Afghanistan remaining fixture

v New Zealand, Abu Dhabi – November 7

New Zealand remaining fixtures

v Namibia, Sharjah – November 5

v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi – November 7

Updated: November 4th 2021, 5:21 AM