ICC World Cup 2019: Match 13, Afghanistan vs New Zealand, Preview – Dominant Kiwis look to romp through another Asian side
Both these sides met just once previously in any format and that happened in the previous World Cup.
Updated - Mar 12, 2020 4:36 pm
Afghanistan entered the World Cup with so many aspirations, but their batting doesn’t seem competitive for cricket at this level. Against Sri Lanka and Australia, they struggled to get going with the bat and although they had the advantage against Sri Lanka, they failed to get over the line. They’re palpably not playing their best cricket and Saturday afternoon won’t be any easy.
Both sides from Oceania were off to a sensational start, with Australia taking down Afghanistan and Windies whilst New Zealand won their opening two games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The next assignment for the Kiwis is again to lock horns with Afghanistan and this one too could be a tricky contest just the way it was against Bangladesh.
Both these sides met just once previously in any format and that happened in the previous World Cup. New Zealand comfortably romped home in that fixture and something similar is expected here as well, going by how compact and solid the Kiwis are looking. We can always expect the odd surprise in this tournament, but it’s nearly impossible for Afghanistan to take something away from this game.
Mohammad Shahzad is out of the tournament now for the Afghans, which means Noor Ali Zadran will be opening alongside Hazratullah Zazai. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi need some runs to consolidate their position in the middle order by getting some runs. Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran are hitting the deck hard and posing some challenges, but they need more wickets. Mujeeb Ur Rahman might not get more chances and needs to buck up as soon as possible.
Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wk), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Guptill and Munro finished game one easily while Williamson and Guptill chipped in with crucial contributions against Bangladesh, which means their top four is beautifully sorted. Having a number 8 like Mitchell Santner is a hall-mark on how deep this side can bat. Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult have been spectacular, but Matt Henry has picked more wickets than the both. Santner will be the only spinner with Neesham and Grandhomme sharing the fifth bowler responsibility.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Focus will be on
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The wizard is just about finding his feet and his tricks are beginning to trouble the batsmen. Rashid Khan had an ordinary outing in the IPL, which is below his superstar standards. Batsmen are beginning to defend his overs away and he didn’t seem to have an answer for some time. He bowled well against Sri Lanka on the same ground and will be keen to continue the good work.
Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
Guptill was a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad side before the World Cup and spent some time with Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. He could have an edge against these spinners and as always, he will be brilliant against the speedsters. Not a lot of these cricketers apart from him and Kane Williamson are used to playing such spinners and their performances could be decisive.
Head to head
Matches played – 1 | New Zealand won – 1 | Afghanistan won – 0
7 – Matt Henry is the highest wicket-takers so far this World Cup as he picked up seven wickets in two games.
TV – Star Sports
Match timings – 18:00 IST; 13.30 Local.