Half-centuries from Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips followed by an impressive bowling display from Mitchell Santner and Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand defeated Afghanistan by 149-run in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match here at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
Batting first, New Zealand were in a spot of trouble at 110/4 after three quick wickets derailed a solid start. But Glenn Phillips (71) and Tom Latham (68) stitched 144-run stand and helped New Zealand up to a challenging total of 288-6, aided by some sloppy fielding from Afghanistan.
In reply, Afghanistan were restricted to 139 in 34.4 overs as New Zealand’s pace bowlers got among the wickets, with Mitchell Santner also starring both with the ball and in the field.
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and elected to bowl first, and his side spilled an early chance when Will Young was dropped off the bowling of Fazalhaq Farooqi, the first missed opportunity of many, ICC reports.
Conway was trapped lbw by Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the seventh over for 20, and Afghanistan bowled with discipline and kept the New Zealand scoring rate under check until the end of the first Powerplay.
Positive batting from Young and Rachin Ravindra helped the Black Caps pick up pace, and they added 66 runs over the next 10 overs, taking 26 runs from Mohammed Nabi’s three overs in this period.
New Zealand’s smooth run was rocked by a brilliant double-wicket charge from Azmatullah Omarzai. Rachin Ravindra tried to go across the line and had his middle stump uprooted off Azmatullah’s second ball. And the very last ball of that over saw the other set batter, Young, fall to a brilliant diving take from the Afghanistan keeper, Iram Alikhil.
New Zealand had barely recovered when Rashid Khan Daryl Mitchell and Afghanistan were well and truly in the game. Then, Latham and Phillips settled in to build the innings’ decisive partnership, taking the game into the final ten overs before unleashing a number of big shots.
The pair put on 144 in a game-turning contribution, although Afghanistan gave the two New Zealand batters a number of extra lives thanks to some particularly average efforts in the field.
Naveen-ul-Haq struck to remove both in the 48th over, but finisher Mark Chapman stepped up to smash 25 from 12 balls at the death to boost New Zealand’s total up to 288/6.
Chasing 289, Afghanistan’s got off to a steady start as the two openers attempted to see off the big threat of Trent Boult and Matt Henry in the Powerplay.
But just as the pair looked to be getting set, two wickets fell in the space of three balls, with Henry cleaning up the key batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 11, and Boult having Ibrahin Zadran caught for 14.
The chase suffered another blow when Santner pulled off a brilliant catch to remove the skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi for a conservative 29-ball 8.
A 54-run partnership between Rahmat Shah (36) and Azmatullah Omarzai (27) set a promising platform for the team, but Boult’s return led to Azmatullah’s departure at 27 and Rachin Ravindra picked up the wicket of Rahmat Shah, via a lengthy third-umpire decision on a bump ball, to leave Afghanistan five down and with a mountain to climb.
Afghanistan needed something big from their powerful all-rounders, but Mohammad Nabi was the next wicket to fall, leaving his team 125/6.
It was Santner who got it, picking up his 100th ODI wicket in style, drifting one past the batter’s outside edge to rattle the stumps.
Lockie Ferguson and Santner swiftly sealed the game for the Black Caps by taking the final four wickets in just eight deliveries. This victory gave them a significant net run rate boost, as Afghanistan was bowled out for 139, falling short by 149 runs.
Victory puts New Zealand top of the table with four wins from four and the tournament’s best net run rate, while Afghanistan will look to bounce back when they take on Pakistan next up on Monday.