Virat Kohli has insisted he was not asked to reconsider his decision to step down as India's T20I skipper and says he was not aware he might lose the ODI captaincy.

Kohli confirmed in September that he had decided to take a step back from leading India in the shortest format after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup.

However, he had agreed to stay on as India's ODI and Test captain, and remain available for selection in T20Is.

India failed to progress from the Super 12s in the World Cup, with Rohit Sharma named as captain for the subsequent T20 series against New Zealand.

But on December 8, Rohit was named India's new permanent white-ball captain.

The BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, explained that the selectors felt there would have too much leadership within the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain. However, the batsman has contradicted this statement.

 

"When I decided to leave the T20I captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well," Kohli told reporters.

"There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn't told to reconsider it. It was received well; I was told it's progressive and it's a step in the right direction.

"Then I told them I'd like to continue in Tests and ODIs, unless the office bearers and selectors feel otherwise.

"My communication was clear in what I wanted to do. I gave them the option, that if they feel I shouldn't [remain captain in Tests and/or ODIs], the decision is in their hands."

Kohli, who is staying on as Test captain, also revealed he was only told of the BCCI's decision to replace him as ODI skipper an hour-and-a-half prior to the squad announcement for India's upcoming red-ball tour of South Africa.

"I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on December 8 for the Test series," Kohli said.

"There was no prior communication to me at all from when I announced the T20I captaincy decision until December 8, when I got a call before the selection meeting.

"The chief selector [Chetan Sharma] discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed, and before ending the call I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, "okay, fine".

"In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That's what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all."

But Kohli is adamant the captaincy call will not impact his preparation for the South Africa Test series.

He added: "To be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities, nothing has, and nothing can derail me from that.

"A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not how one expects them to be, but you have to understand you can only do so much as an individual and we have to keep thing in tight perspective and do things that are in your control.

"I'm focussed, mentally prepared, and excited to do the best I can for the team and make the team win."

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has revealed he is "almost at the end of the road" with his recovery from an elbow injury.

Archer has not played since July and was ruled out of the Ashes series in Australia.

The paceman was a frustrated spectator as Joe Root's side were skittled out for only 147 on day one of the series at the Gabba.

But Archer was able to offer some positive news for England fans on a painful day for the tourists.

"It was a tough one to take seeing the ball bouncing and seaming a little bit [when Australia were ripping through the England batting line-up]," he told Channel 7.

"This is one tour as a fast bowler that you really don't want to miss.

"The [scan] results came back yesterday and it was quite promising, actually – everything is moving forward nicely.

"It is just a matter of waiting a little bit more, being a little bit more patient. I am almost at the end of the road."

India sealed a T20I series 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand as Rohit Sharma and Axar Patel guided the home side to a 73-run victory in Kolkata.

The hosts had already dominated against visitors who were beaten by Australia in the T20 World Cup final just a week ago, cruising to consecutive victories to guarantee a series triumph before Sunday's final game.

India opted to bat first at Eden Gardens and raced to 69-0 at the end of the powerplay – their highest score in the first six overs of the series - before Ishan Kishan (29) fell two balls later.

New captain Rohit carried on imperiously, blasting three sixes in his 31-ball 56 to not only become just the second batter to hit 150 maximums in T20I cricket but also to place him top, above Virat Kohli (29), for the most 50-plus scores in the format.

The hosts eventually concluded on 184-7 from their 20-over allocation after Deepak Chahar clubbed 21 from eight deliveries as India collected 50 runs from the final five overs.

New Zealand's response began brightly with 16 taken off Chahar in the second over, but Axar (3-9) removed Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips cheaply to leave the visitors 37-3 after their first six.

Martin Guptill (51) offered the only serious resistance for the tourists, who capitulated to 111 all out to hand India their eighth consecutive match win in T20I bilateral series against New Zealand.


Santer shines as Kiwi bowlers falter

Mitchell Santer (3-27) was the only New Zealand bowler to go for an economy under seven.

While picking up the key wickets of Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant, the left-armer bowled tightly after the powerplay and, with more support, could have limited India to a lower total.

Almost perfect from Axar

Tasked with operating in the powerplay, Axar struck with his first delivery in the match and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

As well as picking up a trio of wickets in quick succession, the off-spinner produced 13 dot balls to concede just nine runs from his three overs.

India captain Rohit Sharma played a central role as his team clinched a T20I series win over World Cup finalists New Zealand with a clinical seven-wicket victory in Ranchi.

After making a valuable 48 when India won the first game in the three-match series by five wickets on Wednesday, Rohit – who took over from Virat Kohli as T20 captain for this series and seems set to be handed the role on a full-time basis – added a rapid 55 on this occasion as he and KL Rahul produced a century opening partnership.

Chasing New Zealand's 153-6, Rahul plundered 65 from 49 balls and Rohit's runs came from just 36 deliveries, before India withstood a slight stumble to get over the line with 16 balls to spare.

Rishabh Pant finished it off with two sixes at the start of the 18th over, with India getting the job done emphatically at JSCA International Stadium Complex.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee's inspired bowling had accounted for both openers and Suryakumar Yadav, but by that point India were almost home and hosed. Pant and Venkatesh Iyer both finished on 12 not out.

The visitors paid the price for being unable to build on a strong platform of their own, having been 79-1 in the ninth over. Martin Guptill thrashed 31 from 15 balls, perishing to a top edge off Deepak Chahar after striking the same bowler for six from the previous delivery.

Harshal Patel had a strong debut for India and his 2-25 included the wicket of middle-order dangerman Glenn Phillips, who hit three sixes, taking his total to 97 in T20 matches at all levels in 2021, making 34 in 21 balls.

The three-match series concludes in Kolkata on Sunday, with India eyeing a clean sweep.

Rohit and Rahul take game away from Kiwis

Trent Boult dropped Rohit on 29 after he sliced into the on side. A wicket at that point, in the 10th over, might have made a difference, but India's opening pair went on to put on 117 and such a foundation meant the outcome became a foregone conclusion. It means the India openers have equalled the most century partnerships in T20I matches, joining Pakistan's Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan on five.

Super Southee efforts in vain

Southee's salvo came too late to majorly affect the outcome, but his bowling was terrific and figures of 3-16 from four overs matched his fifth-best T20I performance, in what was his 92nd appearance in the short format for the Black Caps.

Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

South Africa legend AB de Villiers has confirmed his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 37.

The Proteas great made the announcement on Friday, calling time on a glittering career that saw him win 114 Test caps, feature in 228 ODIs and make 78 T20I outings.

He stepped down from the international stage in 2018 but continued to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, as well as feature in other T20 competitions. 

However, the prolific batsman - an excellent fielder who also donned the wicketkeeping gloves - will no longer showcase his incredible talents after deciding to call it a day.

"It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket," he wrote on Twitter.

"Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly.

"That's the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement. I've had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me.

"Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. Whether playing for the Titans, or the Proteas, or RCB, or around the world, the game has given me unimagined experiences and opportunities, and I will always be grateful.

"I would like to thank every team-mate, every opponent, every coach, every physio and every staff member who has travelled the same path, and I am humbled by the support I have received in South Africa, in India, wherever I have played.

"Last, I am aware that nothing would have been possible without the sacrifices made by my family – my parents, my brothers, my wife Danielle and my children. I look forward to the next chapter of our lives when I can truly put them first."

De Villiers last played for South Africa in a Test match against Australia back in March 2018, having debuted against England in 2004.

He scored 8,765 runs in Tests at an average of 50.66, with 22 centuries as well as taking 222 catches, 101 of those as a keeper.

De Villiers was even more impressive in the ODI format, averaging 53.50 and racking up 25 hundreds in 228 appearances, while he made 1,672 runs in T20I 75 knocks at an average of 26.12. 

The veteran's 157 matches for RCB yielded 4,522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33.

New Zealand have had little to time to dwell on their T20 World Cup final heartbreak as they prepare to face India in Jaipur on Wednesday.

The Black Caps missed out being crowned world champions in the shortest format for the first time when they suffered an eight-wicket defeat to Australia at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

A 15-man T20 squad arrived in Jaipur less than 24 hours after that loss and they will look to take their frustration out on India in a three-match series.

Tim Southee will captain New Zealand, with Kane Williamson missing the T20s as he prioritises preparing for a two-Test series that starts on November 25.

It is the beginning of a new era for India after Rahul Dravid replaced Ravi Shastri as head coach and Virat Kohli's reign as T20 captain came to an end.

Rohit Sharma leads India for this series as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals behind them, starting with a first men’s T20I at Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Kohli misses the series along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

New Zealand hammered India by eight wickets in the World Cup, with the Black Caps having lost the previous five T20 matches between the two nations.

 

 

Black Caps set to rotate, Ferguson on the mend

Southee said such an intense schedule and spending so long in bio-secure bubbles has taken a toll on some Black Caps players, revealing how it "weighs you down".

The stand-in skipper suggested the tourists would make full use of their squad and paceman Lockie Ferguson is set to make a welcome return from a calf strain.

He said on Tuesday: "It's [squad rotation] something we have to look at throughout this series of three games in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then go into a Test series.

"The guys have to be managed throughout the series and we've got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the T20 World Cup which I'm sure we'll use throughout the T20 series."

 

Rohit wants 'fearless' approach

Rohit has never been afraid to take an aggressive approach and the skipper wants the side to take more risks with the bat at the start of a new era, with another T20 World Cup to come next year.

He said: "It's important, especially in this format, that sometimes you just need to go out there and play fearlessly and while doing that, there are chances that you might not always be successful, because it's a short format and you're always challenged.

"The pressure is always there. We certainly will keep an eye on that aspect; that's where the entire set-up will play a big part that wherever that individual bats, and how we want him to bat, goes and does the job for us. If he doesn't then we instil confidence in him that we have full faith in you, just go and do the role for the team. As long as they're trying to do the role for the team, we are happy."

Rohit has scored 352 T20I runs against New Zealand, more than any other India batsman. He made 174 runs in five World Cup knocks at an average of 34.80.

Australia will tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years, it was announced on Monday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed details of a month-long tour in March and April 2022 comprising three Test matches, three ODIs and one T20I.

The Tests will be held in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore in March, with the latter also hosting the white-ball matches.

While the Tests will form part of the ICC World Test Championship, the one-day matches will be linked to the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, a 13-team event from which seven qualifiers and host nation India will progress to the final tournament in 2023.

Speaking of Australia's first visit since 1998, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said: "I am delighted to welcome Australia to Pakistan. From a personal point of view, it pleases me no end that we'll be engaged in a three-Test match series, connoisseurs delight.

"Australia are one of the high-performing sides and them playing in our backyard for the first time after a gap of 24 years will be a special treat for the fans.

"Likewise, it will be a great opportunity for the Australia cricketers to not only play at our iconic venues but also feel and enjoy the respect, love and hospitality that this great country offers, something which most of their previous generation of cricketers missed out by playing offshore."

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley: "Cricket Australia is excited about the prospect of touring Pakistan next year for what will be a highly anticipated series in a country so incredibly passionate about the game and their national team.

"Pakistan is a formidable opposition with an exceptionally talented team, as evidenced by their dynamic performances in the current ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE.

"We thank the PCB for their considerable efforts in planning for the tour and look forward to continuing to work closely over the coming months to finalise the necessary operations, logistics, security and Covid-19 protocols.

"The safety and welfare of our players and staff remains our number one priority, and we will continue to work with the PCB and relevant agencies to ensure that appropriate and sufficient arrangements are put in place for the tour."

Australia won the series 1-0 in their previous tour of Pakistan, which was their first since Richie Benaud's side won 2-0 in 1959-60.

The previous four series between the countries have been held offshore, most recently in 2018-19, when Pakistan won 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan ended the Super 12s phase of the T20 World Cup with an unblemished record as Shoaib Malik inspired a comprehensive win by 72 runs against Scotland on Sunday.

While Pakistan were already assured of a spot in the semi-finals, where they will face Australia, they maintained their impressive momentum in dominant fashion against a Scotland side that never looked likely to reach the 190 target set by their opponents.

Granted, it took them a little while to really find their groove, with Mohammad Rizwan (15) and Fakhar Zaman (8) falling as Pakistan found themselves with a fairly unimpressive score of 59-2 in the 10th over.

But captain Babar Azam (66) kept things ticking along nicely, while Mohammad Hafeez (31) enjoyed a solid showing as well until he was caught leg-before by Safyaan Sharif (1-41).

It was Malik who stole the show and took Pakistan to another level, however. His unbeaten 54 came from just 18 balls and included seven boundaries including six sixes – it was the quickest half-century in Pakistan's T20 history and the third-fastest ever in the T20 World Cup.

That elevated Pakistan's innings from reasonable to unassailable, with Scotland surely realising they had little hope.

Richie Berrington (54 not out) could at least leave with his head held high, but no one else got more than 17 for the Scots.

While Scotland managed to see out the full 20 overs, they just could not get enough runs on the board against a miserly Pakistan attack.

Malik is the star

A particularly curious aspect of Pakistan's tournament is the fact Malik was a fifth different man of the match from five games, highlighting the spread of quality in the side. But even then, no one would have predicted just how devastating he was going to be here – not that he was getting carried away.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "Yes, I'm in good form but I want to see myself more consistent to help the team." If he produces innings like that on a regular basis, the outcome will be frightening.

Berrington plays with pride

Were it not for Malik's brilliance, Berrington probably would have been man of the match himself. His 54 came from 37 balls and he was Scotland's only hope, with no team-mate managing a strike rate of over 100.

New Zealand qualified for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan, who have been eliminated along with India in the process.

India needed Afghanistan to beat the Black Caps, before also having to beat Namibia themselves, but it was not to be as victory for Kane Williamson's men sees them progress from Group 2 along with Pakistan, with England and Australia already through from Group 1.

Any other outcome rarely looked likely in Abu Dhabi as Afghanistan got off to a cumbersome start in their innings, only managing 23 runs for the loss of three wickets during the powerplay.

Najibullah Zadran was the only batsman to impress, hitting 73 from 48 balls including six boundaries and three sixes, before being caught by Jimmy Neesham off the bowling of Trent Boult.

Boult was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3-17, though Tim Southee (2-24) became the second all-time leading wicket taker for the Black Caps in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup history as Afghanistan were limited to 124-8.

A fast start for New Zealand saw 26 runs come from the first three overs, only for Daryl Mitchell (17) to fall from the first ball of the fourth over, caught behind off the bowling of Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Rashid Khan, who had already made history in the tournament by taking 100 wickets in T20Is in the fewest innings (53), clinched his 400th wicket in the format, clean bowling Martin Guptill for 28.

Despite that minor setback, New Zealand eases to victory, with Williamson (four) and Devon Conway (36) knocking off the remainder of the total.

Najibullah effort in vain

At times it felt like a one-man-innings from Afghanistan, with Najibullah hitting 73 of their 124 runs himself. Without him, it is doubtful his team-mates would have reached three figures.

Najibullah ended the tournament as his team's top scorer, knocking 172 runs in his five innings.

Williamson gets everything right

The New Zealand captain knew how crucial victory was here, and followed up a superb innings for his team in the field by calmly seeing them home with the bat to book their place in the semi-finals.

Williamson and Conway were happy to score around a run a ball, taking no risks and comfortably reaching the modest target set by Afghanistan. The Black Caps have now won each of their last four T20 World Cup matches; the only other time they have enjoyed a four-match winning run at the tournament was in March 2016.

Eoin Morgan vowed England would find a way to cope without Jason Roy if the hard-hitting opener is ruled out of the rest of the T20 World Cup.

A calf injury sustained by Roy in Saturday's thrilling clash with South Africa has put his hopes of featuring again at the tournament in doubt.

He retired hurt for 20 early in England's innings as Morgan's side made sure of a semi-final place, despite losing by 10 runs to the Proteas in Sharjah.

South Africa headed out of the tournament, due to their net run rate falling short of that of England and Australia, despite all three sides finishing Group 1 with four wins and one loss.

Roy had not been at his explosive best in the tournament, and England are confident they have players who can come in and prove able deputies.

"We've dealt with a lot of injuries in this tournament and pre-tournament – [Ben] Stokes, [Sam] Curran, [Jofra] Archer are not here, Tymal [Mills] goes down," Morgan said.

"Possibly Jason will be assessed tomorrow. We have a lot of talent coming in, so that gives us a huge amount of confidence.

"In the last couple of years, having built a core group of white-ball players, it allows us to delve into that depth and really explore it."

England paceman Mark Wood said on Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed for J-Roy. I'm sure from the pictures, you saw how disappointed he is. 

"He's pretty disappointed in the dressing room now, upset. He's a big character and a brilliant player for us.

"We've got plenty of good players and good depth, so someone will have to step up, but it's really sad for him.

"We've got [Jonny] Bairstow who opens in the 50 overs; James Vince is a reserve, so he could maybe come in and open the batting; and [Liam] Livingstone opens for Lancashire, so we've got plenty of options."

England made sure of a T20 World Cup semi-final place and took Australia through with them as South Africa went out in a blaze of glory in Sharjah.

The South Africans piled up 189-2 as Rassie van der Dussen plundered 94 from 60 deliveries and Aiden Markram cracked 52 from 25 balls, and they sealed a 10-run win on the back of a final-over hat-trick from Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa's hefty total meant England needed 87 to be sure of a semi-final place, with Eoin Morgan's team's net run rate sky-high coming into this game after four successive wins. Such calculations told South Africa they had to limit their opposition to no more than 131, if the Proteas were to squeeze Australia out of the final four, but England soon scotched those hopes.

Even as their tournament hopes were dashed, South Africa found focus, limiting Group 1 winners England to 179-8 in an absorbing finish capped by Rabada's feats.

Jos Buttler, England's star man in their early games, fell for just 26, and opener Jason Roy retired hurt, his prospects for the rest of the tournament in the balance after he suffered a calf muscle injury when setting off for a single.

England were soon past their primary target. Moeen Ali clattered Tabraiz Shamsi onto the stadium roof from the first ball of the 13th over, but he fell to the next delivery, looking to go deep again but holing out for 37 to David Miller at long-on.

Liam Livingstone flogged Rabada out of the ground for a 112-metre six, the longest in the tournament so far, and repeated the treatment from the next two balls as England officially condemned South Africa to their exit.

David Malan fell for 33 and England, effectively five wickets down, required 45 from 22 deliveries. Livingstone went for 28 from 17 balls, and England needed 14 from the final over. Rabada had Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan caught in the deep from the first three deliveries and made sure there was no way back from that. 

Quinton de Kock (34) had earlier helped South Africa make a strong start. Van der Dussen lashed Woakes for two successive sixes at the start of the 16th over, with Markram following suit from the fifth ball as the England seamer suffered.

The maximums kept coming, with Van der Dussen hitting six in all and Markram blasting four, both batters hitting Jordan over the rope in the final over, but home beckons for the South Africans.
 

VAN DER DUSSEN TOPS PROTEAS BEST

Van der Dussen's bravura knock was the highest score by a South Africa player in T20 World Cup history, surpassing the 90 not out by Herschelle Gibbs against West Indies at the 2007 tournament.

KNOCKING WOOD TO ALL CORNERS

Mark Wood's first appearance for England in this tournament was not one he will look back on too fondly, given the England paceman conceded 0-47. In his 18th T20I appearance, this was just the second time when he has failed to take a wicket. The other occasion saw him return 0-53 when England lost a series decider to India in Ahmedabad in March.

Virat Kohli lauded India's performance in an eight-wicket win over Scotland, though they will need luck on their side to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.

India skittled Scotland for 85 in Dubai before KL Rahul (50) and Rohit Sharma (30) set them well on their way to a resounding, but crucial, victory.

Kohli, playing on his 33rd birthday, nosed two singles, with Suryakumar Yadav hitting the winning six as India sealed the triumph in 6.3 overs.

India moved up to third in Group 2 and have a superior net run rate when compared to second-placed New Zealand, who are two points to the good.

It means India need a favour from Afghanistan, who take on New Zealand in their last outing, while also having to get the job done themselves against Namibia.

While Kohli regrets the mistakes that have put India in such a perilous position – his side having lost to Pakistan and New Zealand in their opening two games – he was thrilled with the display on Friday.

"A dominating performance. It was something we were striving to do again," he said at the post-match presentation.

"I don't want to say too much about today because we know how we can play. These little things in T20 cricket... the toss, conditions matter, and we're glad to be back in our mojo. We spoke about [limiting Scotland to] 100, 120 maximum, but we restricted them to a total that allowed us to leapfrog everyone else.

"We spoke about finishing in the eight to 10 over bracket. You don't want to go in with six-and-a-half or a seven-and-a-half run [per over] mark because then you're doing too much.

"If you look at our practice games as well, the guys have been batting like that. Two overs of cricket like that [earlier in the competition] and the momentum of the tournament could have been completely different."

Kohli's counterpart Kyle Coetzer reflected on his side having learned a stern lesson.

"A tough day in the office, we were outclassed in every department," the Scotland captain said.

"But the only way we'll improve is going through games like that and seeing it head on."

While India are battling for the last four, Scotland remain winless and sit bottom of Group 2, with Pakistan to come in their final game.

India kept their hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with an eight-wicket win over Scotland in Dubai.

Virat Kohli turned 33 on Friday, and his team handed the captain a birthday gift with a brilliant display against the minnows.

With New Zealand having beaten Namibia to move onto six points in Group 2, India needed a big win to maintain their slim semi-final hopes.

Kohli won the toss and chose to field, and though George Munsey – who hit a six off the first over – started brightly, his knock of 24 from 19 deliveries was the highest score any Scotland batsman managed.

Scotland were skittled out for just 85, Mohammed Shami finishing with figures of 3-15, identical to those of Ravindra Jadeja, while Jasprit Bumrah took 2-10. Shami began the 17th over with wickets from the first three balls, including a run out.

The bowling performance paved the way for a swift India success, led by the magnificent KL Rahul, who hit 50 from 19 balls before looping a shot down the ground to Calum MacLeod from Mark Watt's enticing delivery.

Rahul's fellow opener Rohit Sharma – aiming to become just the third player to reach 3,000 T20I runs – reached 30 before succumbing lbw to Brad Wheal.

Kohli ticked over two singles before a huge six from Suryakumar Yadav sealed India's success after just 6.3 overs.

Rahul and Rohit sparkle

India's openers raced to the fastest team 50 in the tournament, taking just 23 balls to reach that mark.

Rohit is now just 18 runs short of joining team-mate Kohli and New Zealand's Martin Guptill in the 3,000-runs club, though he may well only have one more shot at that this tournament. His partner Rahul dazzled, hitting three sixes and a further six boundaries in a sensational show of quality.

India need a New Zealand slip-up

There is real jeopardy in Group 2, and a big team will miss out on going any further. Pakistan top the standings with eight points from their four games, so are assured of their place in the semi-finals.

India, who round off their Super 12 campaign against Namibia, are now on four points, two behind New Zealand, but they have a much better run rate of 1.62 compared to 1.28 for the Black Caps, who face Afghanistan (another side on fourth points) in their last game. It is all to play for.

New Zealand negotiated a Super 12 win over Namibia with minimal fuss, prevailing by 52 runs to maintain control of their semi-final fate at the T20 World Cup.

The Black Caps came into Friday's match third in Group 2 but crucially two points ahead of India with a superior net run rate.

And although Namibia initially kept the New Zealand batsmen quiet, there was to be no great upset, meaning Kane Williamson's men can book their place in the last four by beating Afghanistan – also still in contention – in their final match.

There may have been some Kiwi nerves when they stumbled to 87-4 through 14 overs having been put in to bat, with captain Williamson a big scalp, bowled for 28 by opposite number Gerhard Erasmus (1-22).

But Glenn Phillips (39 not out) and James Neesham (35 not out) then combined for an unbeaten 76 to reach 163-4 in a devastating finish to the innings, as five sixes across the last four overs included 21 runs off David Wiese in the 18th alone.

The task with the bat then got away from Namibia, who stuck with New Zealand's early run rate but lacked the same acceleration in the closing stages.

Nobody topped opener Michael van Lingen's contribution of 25, fittingly ended by Neesham, as the chase fell well short on 111-7.

Erasmus efforts in vain

Namibia captain Erasmus had bowled only two overs at this World Cup prior to this point but took on a far more prominent role in a bid to slow New Zealand. It was successful as he conceded only 22 runs from his four overs.

However, he then put the ball in the hands of his team-mates in the closing stages of the innings and saw them punished ruthlessly by Phillips and Neesham. In reply, Erasmus could score only three.

Southee stunts chase hopes

Having starred with the bat, Neesham's dismissal of Van Lingen was a big one, ending a stand of 47 for the first wicket. However, Namibia were still in contention deep into their innings due to New Zealand's slow start.

But Tim Southee stepped up in good time to lead the All Blacks comfortably across the finish line. Wiese had averaged 61.7 at this World Cup, the best efforts of any batsman from a non-Test playing nation, but he went lbw to Southee, who also accounted for Zane Smith en route to figures of 2-15 from four overs. He now has wickets in eight straight T20I innings.

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