Chennai/IBNS: New Zealand continued with their winning streak by winning their fourth match by 149 runs against Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s World Cup at MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.
NZ posted a defendable 288/6 with the help of three of their batsmen getting fifties, with Glenn Phillips leading the pack with 71 runs off 80 balls, and Afghanistan’s poor fielding also contributed immensely.
The target could have been lesser had Afghanistan held on to the chances coming their way. They dropped at least 4 catches and a stumping by Ikram Alikhil, despite Afghan spinners unleashed tight balls.
Will Young (54) fetched his fifty after getting a chance early on, while Rachin Ravindra found his touch hard to come by, and just then Azmatullah Omarzai came up with a magical spell, sending back Young and Rachin (32) who were going strong with a partnership of 79 for second wicket.
Rashid Khan then priced out Daryl Mitchell (1) early. Unfortunately he ended up with just one wicket whereas he could have grabbed four. The dropped catches helped Tom Latham build a 144 runs partnership with Phillips for the fifth wicket.
Later on, Naveen-ul-Haq claimed their wickets in an over with cleaning up Latham who made 68 off 74 balls with three boundaries and 2 sixes. But, Mark Chapman’s late cameo (25*) helped New Zealand to set a 289 runs target for Afghanistan.
New Zealand were off to a nice start with a bit of luck in their favour as Rahmat Shah dropped Will Young in the slips off Fazalhaq Farooqi. This forced the NZ opener to play cautiously, while Devon Conway took off as usual at the other end.
Conway was adjudged leg before off Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the 7th over for 20 as Afghanistan unleashed tidy balls, keeping NZ scoring rate under check till the end of first Powerplay.
Young and Rachin Ravindra stepped up the run rate, and added 66 runs in next 10 overs, belting 26 runs off Mohammad Nabi’s three overs.
New Zealand’s runflow was stymied by a brilliant brace by Azmatullah Omarzai. First he cleaned up Rachin who attempted an across-the-line shot. Young fell on the very next ball after Afghanistan keeper Iram Alikhil dived to his left to grab a low-gliding catch off an inside edge.
Barely did the Kiwis recover, they lost the most fiery batsman Daryl Mitchell off star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan. He had the aggressive batsman pull one straight to midwicket in the hands of Ibrahim Zadran and brought Afghanistan into the game.
And in reply, New Zealand’s pace bowlers got among the wickets to limit Afghanistan’s chasing effort, with Mitchell Santner also starring both with the ball and in the field.
Afghanistan got off to a good start with their openers blunting out the dangerous Trent Boult and Matt Henry in the Powerplay. Just when they got their eye in, both the pacers picked up two wickets in three balls.
Afghanistan’s reply 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. Henry cleaned up top batsmen Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 11, and Boult Ibrahim Zadran caught by Mitchell Santner for 14.
From thereon, Afghanistan were satisfied with the efforts of restructuring, but they suffered yet another jolt when Santner pulled off an out-of-the-box catch to remove skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi for 8 off 29 balls.
A 54-run partnership saw Afghanistan build a platform that had the potential to turn into a launchpad for their lower order hitters, but there was still a lot of work to do when Boult returned to prize out Azmatullah Omarzai for 27.
And the otherwise expensive 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.
And it was a combination of Lockie Ferguson and Santner who wrapped the game up quickly to secure a big net run rate boost for the Black Caps, taking the last four wickets in the space of just eight deliveries as Afghanistan were bowled out for 139, still 149 runs short.
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.