ICC World Cup 2019: Match 13, Afghanistan vs New Zealand – Who Said What

ICC World Cup 2019: Match 13, Afghanistan vs New Zealand – Who Said What

The Kiwis chased the target down with 17.5 overs to spare.

James Neesham
James Neesham. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

New Zealand romped to their third consecutive victory of the 2019 World Cup. After rolling over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Kiwis managed to beat Afghanistan by seven wickets at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton. Even as the Black Caps continued with their unbeaten streak, the Afghans lost their third game in succession and are looking for their first triumph of the mega event.

Shahidi fights until the end

The Afghans made three changes. Ikram Ali Khil replaced an injured Mohammad Shahzad. Noor Ali Zadran opened the batting with Hazratullah Zazai. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Dawlat Zadran were rested while Aftab Alam was drafted in to the eleven. New Zealand didn’t alter their playing eleven and after winning the toss and electing to field first, they bowled Afghanistan out for a modest 172 in 41.1 overs.

The openers took the Afghans off to a resounding start as they put on 66 runs in 10.5 overs. Against the run of play, James Neesham accounted for the wicket of Zazai, who threw his bat at everything to score 34. In the next over, Lockie Ferguson nipped out Noor Ali Zadran. Rahmat Shah got out for a duck and soon after their skipper Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi went back to the hut cheaply as well.

At the other end, Hashmatullah Shahidi didn’t allow the situation affect him by any means. He didn’t take any risk early in his knock and was the last wicket to fall. The left-hander got to his maiden World Cup half-century and got out after getting 59 off 99 balls. For the Black Caps, Neesham picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket. Ferguson was also effective, having picked up four wickets.

All too easy for New Zealand

The Black Caps didn’t have the best of starts as Martin Guptill perished for a golden duck. Aftab Alam accounted for the batsman’s wicket in the very first ball of the run-chase. Colin Munro was starting to find his rhythm after which he fell prey to Alam. The left-hander notched 22 runs off 24 deliveries with four boundaries. Skipper Kane had his difficulties but didn’t allow the situation to unnerve them.

He got to his fifty off 77 balls and shepherded his team home with 17.5 overs to spare. Williamson remained not out on 79 from 99 balls with the help of six boundaries. Ross Taylor looked fluent in his knock of 48 from 52 balls with six fours and a six. Kane set up an unbeaten stand of 43 with Tom Latham and took his team to yet another comprehensive win in this 50-overs tournament.

James Neesham, the Player of the Match, said

Pretty pleased with my performance today. Afghanistan put us under pressure very early with the bat, but we knew we had the ability to dent them even after the start they got. The chase was clinical, obviously. Our home conditions are lower and slower, but the bouncy conditions suited me personally to be honest. I let a few external voices affect my bowling, and I went back to my forte today – hitting the deck hard, and not trying to swing the ball too much.

Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, said

There are some world-class players in the Afghan side. It was important that we built pressure in the middle-overs, and the way the seamers came back in the middle-overs was fantastic. Lockie doesn’t need a lot of encouragement to turn up the speed. The left- and right-arm combination helps up top and Neesham hitting the wicket hard with the bounce, pace and the movement was great to watch. The batting was improved from the last match. We have chased three games in a row and we are trying to chase some of the lower targets. It is important to build the partnerships. We have a couple of days off now, and then we have India after that so we need to adapt to new venues.

Gulbadin Naib, the Afghanistan captain, said

We started really well. Hazrat and Noor were great with the bat. We missed the length of the ball, some of us batsmen, and we threw our wickets away early. So credit to the Kiwi bowlers. We have to play out 50 overs, and it is important for us to stay at the wicket. Our bowlers started well. The wickets did not support the fast bowlers, so we missed out on Rashid. I just tell the boys to keep calm, and show a little more composure in the middle. We missed out on saving some boundaries too and we were not great in the field, so we have a long way to go – the improvement at this high level of cricket will happen day by day.