Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah made well-compiled fifties and veteran Mohammad Nabi produced a stifling spell as Afghanistan continued their dream run in the World Cup, registering a smooth seven-wicket victory over Netherlands to keep their semifinals hopes alive here on Friday.
In the battle between two giant-killers of this showpiece, Afghanistan rode on their spinners and brilliant fielding to restrict the Dutch to 179 all out and then chased down the target in 31.3 overs.
The win, their fourth in seven games, swelled Afghanistan's tally to eight points and also lifted them to the fifth spot ahead of Pakistan.
The Afghans, who defeated defending champions England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in this tournament, however, have two tough matches left against Australia and South Africa and their fate relies on the results of them.
Netherlands, who surprised the world with wins over South Africa and Bangladesh, are all but out of the tournament with two games left. They have four points.
The chase was a cakewalk for Afghanistan despite losing both their openers -- Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) and Ibrahim Zadran (20) -- inside the 11th over for 55.
Rahmat's (52 off 54 balls) sparkling form continued as he hit his third consecutive fifty and with skipper Shahidi (56 not out off 64 balls) shared 74 runs for the third wicket to set the base for Afghanistan's comfortable win.
Rahmat finally departed when the team was on 129, handing a simple return catch to Saqib Zulfiqar while trying to go over his head. He struck nine delightful boundaries during his knock.
Shahidi, who is also in red hot form, made yet another half-century to lead his side from the front.
Along with Azmatullah Omarzai (31 not out), Shahidi stitched 52 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand to ensure a comfortable win for his side. .
Zulfiqar (1/25), Roelof van der Merwe (1/27) and Logan van Beek (1/30) picked up a wicket each for the Dutch.
Earlier, Sybrand Engelbrecht struck a gritty half-century but failed to push the Netherlands to a competitive total. .
Engelbrecht (58 off 86 balls) anchored Netherlands' innings after they suffered a mid-innings collapse. This was after Max O'Dowd (42) and Colin Ackermann (29) shared an attacking 70-run alliance off 64 balls for the second wicket after they elected to bat.
Netherlands lost Wesley Barresi, who replaced Vikramjit Singh, in the fifth ball of the innings, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman trapping him plumb in front of the wicket.
O'Dowd and Ackermann then steadied the Dutch ship before they suffered a dramatic middle-order collapse.
Three run outs jolted Netherlands' surge as from 73 for 1 they slumped to 92 for 5 inside 20 overs.
Poor judgement while running between the wickets and some brilliant fielding from Afghans derailed the Dutchmen.
A set O'Dowd fell victim to an unnecessary run out, caught inches short of the crease by Omarzai's direct hit from the deep while searching for a double. O'Dowd struck nine boundaries.
A few overs later, Ackermann too got run out at the keeper's end while going for a non-existent single.
Netherlands' slide continued as wickets fell like ninepins with wicket-keeper Ikram Alikhil involved in four dismissals.
Bas de Leede edged one to Alikhil off off-spinner Nabi and a few overs later the Afghan pounced on another nick off Noor Ahmad to send Zulfiqar back into the dressing room.
Alikhil then effected a stumping off Nabi to dismiss Logan van Beek.
A wearing Lucknow pitch too favoured the Afghan spinners -- Nabi (3/28), Noor Ahmad (2/31) and Mujeeb (1/40).