ADELAIDE: New Zealand on Friday became the first team to book a semifinal berth in the T20 World Cup after Australia were restricted to 168-8 by Afghanistan in a crucial game here.
After New Zealand beat Ireland by 35 runs in their final super 12 group, defending champions Australia needed to win against Afghanistan by an improbable 185 runs to overtake the net runrate of their Trans-Tasman rivals.
The hosts, however, scored 168 for 8 after being invited to bat by Afghanistan, paving the way for New Zealand to qualify for the knockout stage.
Australia now will need to limit Afghanistan to 106 or lower to stay alive in the semifinal race, which also involves England.
The win over Ireland saw New Zealand grab the top spot with seven points and a net runrate of +2.113. England (5 points), who will take on Sri Lanka in their final super 12 game, are currently in the second spot with a runrate of +0.547.
Australia are placed third, also with five points, but with a runrate of -0.304. If they can restrict Afghanistan to 106 or lower, they can get past England's NRR.
New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, began their campaign in the T20 showpiece with a dominating 89-run win over Australia, before thrashing Sri Lanka by 65 runs following a washout against Afghanistan.
Their only loss was against England by 20 runs at Gabba in Brisbane.
New Zealand had reached the final of the last edition, where they lost to Australia by eight wickets....