With a crushing 66-run win over Afghanistan, India kept their slim hopes of reaching the Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals alive.
Faced with elimination if they lost the third game in a row, India made a stunning statement in Abu Dhabi, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul sharing a magnificent opening stand of 140.
Rohit scored 74 off 47 balls and Rahul scored 69 off 48 before Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya carried India to 210-2, the highest score of the tournament.
Afghanistan never looked capable of chasing 211, and their focus shifted to limiting the severity of defeat in order to protect their superior net run-rate, which determines who advances if multiple teams finish on the same points.
After Afghanistan fell to 69-5 in the 12th over, Karim Janat and captain Mohammad Nabi scored 42 not out and 35 respectively to help the team reach 144-7.
The margin of victory keeps India in a thrilling three-team race for the second semi-final spot behind Group 2 leaders Pakistan, with Afghanistan and New Zealand.
Regardless of the other results, New Zealand will advance if they defeat Namibia and Afghanistan.
However, if the Black Caps lose either game, India, who play Scotland and Namibia, will qualify if they win both games and outrun Afghanistan and New Zealand’s run rates.