Cricket Article

Cricket World Cup 2019: New Zealand Thrash Afghanistan to Go Top of Table

Cricket World Cup 2019: New Zealand Thrash Afghanistan to Go Top of Table Photo: TT
New Zealand made it three wins in a row

New Zealand maintained their excellent start to the World Cup by beating Afghanistan by 7 wickets.

The Kiwis won the toss in Taunton and opted to bowl first, although it was Bangladesh who made a good start with their opening pair of Hazratuulah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran putting on 66 for the first wicket, before there was a dramatic collapse. First to fall was Hazratullah, caught by Colin Munro off Jimmy Neesham for 34.

He was followed by Zadran, caught behind off Lockie Ferguson for 31, and then Neesham struck again, having Rahmat Shah caught without scoring. Neesham then claimed a third victim in his next over. Gulbadin Naib caught behind. That slowed the Afghanistan momentum almost completely, and they were not helped by several rain delays.

However, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi rebuilt the innings with a stand of 35 until Nabi gave Neesham a fourth wicket when he was caught behind, with Najbullah Zadran departing in identical fashion three balls later.

Hashmatullah and Ikram Ali Khil added 21, although Khil contributed only two of them until he was caught by Martin Guptill off Colin de Grandhomme. One over later, the Afghans lost their 8th wicket, Rashid Khan bowled by Ferguson without scoring. Aftab Alam then gave Ferguson a third wicket when he was caught behind for 14.

He then got his fourth when Hashmatullah was caught by Matt Henry, top scoring with 59. Afghanistan had been bowled out for 172, with more than 8 overs of their innings yet to be bowled. Neesham finished with 5 for 31, and Ferguson 4 for 37.

The New Zealand innings got off to the worst possible start when Guptill fell to the first ball, caught by Najbullah with Aftab Alam the bowler. Kane Williamson and Colin Munro then put on 41, before Alam struck again, having Munro caught by Hamid Hassan for 22. Williamson and Ross Taylor then combined in stand of 89 for the third wicket, until Taylor, who hit scored a six and 6 fours in his 48, was bowled by Alam. However, there were no further alarms for New Zealand as Williamson combined with Tom Latham to ease their side home with more than 17 overs to spare.

Williamson was undefeated on 79, having hit 9 fours, whilst Latham was 13 not out at the end.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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