T20 World Cup: India vs New Zealand not virtual quarterfinal, can't take Afghanistan lightly - Harbhajan Singh

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T20 World Cup: India vs New Zealand not virtual quarterfinal, can't take Afghanistan lightly - Harbhajan Singh

World Cup-winning off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday said it’s unfair to call India’s Super 12 match against New Zealand a virtual quarter-final, saying Afghanistan can’t be taken lightly in Group 2 of T20 World Cup 2021.

Contrary to expectations, Pakistan have made a strong start to the T20 World Cup 2021 and established themselves as one of the favourites. Babar Azam’s men outclassed India by 10 wickets and outclassed New Zealand to make it 2 in 2.

Pakistan are likely to finish on top of Super 12 Group 2 table but they take on Afghanistan who laid down an early marker by beating Scotland by 130 runs in their tournament opener.

India and New Zealand will meet each other on October 31 in Dubai and both teams will have to face Afghanistan apart from minnows Namibia and Scotland.

A win on Sunday might not guarantee either team a place in the semi-final but a defeat might severely hamper their chances of making it to the last 4.

“The match against New Zealand is not a virtual quarter-final. It’s another game. Of course, you have to play it one game at a time. Afghanistan can upset anyone, you can’t take them lightly,” Harbhajan told India Today.

“Our first job should be to beat New Zealand and I am sure boys will do that. After that, we have to do well in the remaining games. We can’t really say it’s the quarterinal. Every game from hereon will be very important for Team India. And I am sure they are ready for it and they will produce the right results.”

I back India to beat New Zealand on Sunday: Harbhajan

Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, said he backs India to learn from their mistakes and put up a strong show against New Zealand on Sunday. India have never beaten New Zealand in a T20 World Cup match and the former champions will be wary of Kane Williamson’s men who ended their run in the 2019 World Cup. India’s last win over New Zealand in an ICC event came in 2003.

“I think India is a very, very good side. Obviously, they didn’t have a good day against Pakistan. I still back India to beat New Zealand because knowing the kind of quality in the team, they just need to showcase their talent and show the whole world what they are made of.

“Obviously the loss against Pakistan in a wake-up call. I am sure they will come back stronger in the tournament and the win will start from the next tie,” Harbhajan added.

Also Read | T20 World Cup: Hardik Pandya starts bowling in the nets ahead of NZ clash Also Read | Harbhajan Singh calls the loss against Pakistan a ‘wake-up call’ for India

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