England are a very strong side – Kane Williamson ahead of semi-final against Eoin Morgan’s team
Kane Williamson made an unbeaten 40 and Convoy scored 36 not out as both batsmen saw through the spin threat of Rashid Khan (1-27) and Mujeeb (1-31) with a match-winning stand of 68 and carried New Zealand to 125-2 with more than 11 balls to spare.
“Strong performance,” Williamson said after the game. “We know how dangerous this Afghanistan side is. Nice for us to be able to set the tone with the ball, take wickets early and then keep them to a below-par total.”
Boult had the wicket of Hazratullah Zazai for just two in his second over, but the left-arm fast bowler thwarted Afghan hopes of a challenging total in his return spell by removing top-scorer Najibullah Zadran (73) and Karim Janat.
Gulbadin Naib (15) and captain Mohammad Nabi (14) got off the mark, but New Zealand wisely used pace more than its two spinners to pin down Afghanistan.
New Zealand adjusted well and won four games in a row after losing to Pakistan in their opening group game — a run that included an eight-wicket win over India. The Black Caps faced perhaps the toughest schedule, playing their last three games at three different venues in the oppressive afternoon heat of the United Arab Emirates.
Unbeaten Pakistan, which has already qualified for the semifinals, will take on Scotland in their last group match later on Sunday. Barring an upset, New Zealand will finish second in the group and take on Group 1 topper England in the first semifinal while Pakistan meets Australia in the second next week.
“England are a very strong side. For us, it’s important to keep learning and focus on the cricket that we want to play. We are looking forward to the occasion,” Kane Williamson said after the match.