World Cup 2019, AFG vs NZ: Neesham, Williamson power Kiwis to seven-wicket win over Afghanistan

While Kane Williamson scored an unbeaten 79 off 99 balls, James Neesham clinched his maiden ODI fifer and career best figures to help New Zealand bag a seven-wicket victory.

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New Zealand will be expected to make it three wins from three at the Cricket World Cup when it faces Afghanistan in Taunton.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to the highlights of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Match 13 between Afghanistan and New Zealand at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

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-HIGHLIGHTS-

 

NZ 173/3 vs AFG in 32.1 overs: Kane Wiiliamson takes a run off the first delivery of the over to finish off proceedings at Taunton. And with that, New Zealand retains the top spot on the points table. 3/3 wins it is! MoM: James Neesham

 

NZ 168/3 vs AFG in 31 overs: The Kiwis need seven runs to win. It should be all done by the next over.

#StatAttack: 29.2 overs - Kane Williamson, has now faced 20,000 deliveries in the 271 international matches he has featured in.

 

NZ 155/3 vs AFG in 29 overs: Kane Williamson helps a slower delivery, wide of off stump disappear to deep extra cover to bring up the side's 150. He follows it up with another boundary: same delivery, same treatment, same area.

NZ 130/3 vs AFG in 25.4 overs: Aftab gets another wicket as he finds the base of Taylor's off-stump courtesy a huge inside edge. But is it too late now?

NZ 124/2 vs AFG in 25 overs: 11 runs from the over. Mohammad Nabi gets quite the welcome as Ross Taylor dispatches him towards the midwicket area off the first ball of the innings. The ball disappears, and literally so! Out of the ground!

Kane Williamson also gets to his 38th ODI fifty off 77 balls.

NZ 100/2 vs AFG in 21.5 overs: New Zealand breaches the 100-run mark even as Kane Williamson nears his half-century. He is currently batting on 41 off 67 balls.

NZ 97/2 vs AFG in 21 overs: The fifty partnership comes up for Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. This is the duo's 27th ODI partnership and that is also the highest among Kiwis followed by 26 of that of Nathan Astle and Stephen Fleming.
 

#StatAttack: Lockie Ferguson (8), Matt Henry (7) and Jimmy Neesham (6) are amongst the top five wicket-takers in World Cup 2019 so far, with Ferguson leading the charts!

 

NZ 81/2 vs AFG in 18 overs: A boundary comes in this over courtesy a misfield by Hamid Hassan stationed at sweeper cover.

NZ 75/2 vs AFG in 17 overs: With the required run rate at less than three an over, Williamson and Taylor are biding their time in the middle.

NZ 64/2 vs AFG in 14 overs: Just three runs off that over. Afghanistan must take wickets now. New Zealand finding their way, way too easily here. The batsmen, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson seem to be in no hurry to finish things off.

#StatAttack: Nabi's 77 wickets tops the list of most wickets taken by finger spinners since ICC CWC 2015. It is followed by Mitchell Santner's 65.

 

NZ 52/2 vs AFG in 10 overs: Maiden over from Gulbadin. Interesting how he went fuller with each ball this over.

NZ 46/2 vs AFG in 9 overs: Gulbadin Naib takes another review which fetches no success. That's two for the day after he failed to reverse his own dismissal decision in the first innings.

UPDATE: RASHID KHAN, AFTER THE SECOND CONCUSSION TEST, HAS BEEN SIDELINED FOR TODAY'S MATCH AS A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE.

 

NZ 41/2 vs AFG in 8 overs: And Munro is gone! Similar scenes to what happened in Cardiff. A short ball outside off sees Munro tempted to go after the bowler but it goes straight to the fielder at third man, Hamid Hassan.

NZ 39/1 vs AFG in 7 overs: The skipper Gulbadin Naib himself walks in hoping for a breakthrough and does a pretty decent job until the last ball which disappears for a boundary between cover and point in no time. Five runs come from that over.

NZ 26/1 vs AFG in 4 overs: New Zealand doesn't look too worried or in much hurry here. Them ambling along at easy pace should be enough to do it!

Is it time for Afghanistan to bring in its spin contingent? Too early into the game but it must be kept in mind that the total isn't huge enough to scare the Kiwis. Only a few tumbles down the lineup might do the trick. Mohammad Nabi, especially, should be very effective now provided how good he is against left-handers.

NZ 14/1 vs AFG in 2 overs: Just three runs come from that over as Hamid Hassan sticks to a tight line and length throughout: full and just a little outside the line of off stump. We also see a fine effort in the deep by Aftab Alam.

NZ 0/1 vs AFG in 0.1 overs: Woah! Woah! What do we have here? Najibullah pouches one at point as Guptill is on his way off the first ball of the second innings, baffled by the extra bounce.

Colin Munro and Martin Guptill to face Aftab Alam.

-INNINGS BREAK-

New Zealand requires 173 runs to make it 3/3 wins and retain its spot at the top of the World Cup points table.

 

AFG 172 in 41.1 overs: And that is the final wicket. It is Hashmatullah who has been dismissed after an excellent knock of 59. Matt Henry, at third man, finishes things off with a nice catch after sprinting in a few yards.

AFG 171/9 in 40 overs: Hashmatullah seems to be in a bit of discomfort after he hurts one of his fingers. The team physio walks out into the middle.

AFG 162/9 vs NZ in 37.1 overs: His eighth ODI fifty comes up in style off 84 balls as Hashmatullah Shahidi hits one down towards the long on fence.

AFG 158/9 vs NZ in 37 overs: Afghanistan fighting back, but is it too late? Hashmatullah Shahidi, meanwhile, moves to 46 off 83 balls.

AFG 147/9 vs NZ in 35.4 overs: Aftab Alam perishes but only after entertaining the Taunton crowd with two back-to-back boundaries. Edges one as the ball goes up high, high enough buy Tom Latham time to run under that.

AFG 131/8 vs NZ in 33.4 overs: Drinks Break and a wicket! Rashid Khan goes for a duck. Worse, he has been served a nasty blow to the head from a 138 kmph delivery from Ferguson. The ball ricochets down to rattle the stumps.

AFG 130/7 vs NZ in 32.4 overs: Well, Ikram wouldn't have wanted his maiden World Cup match to turn out like this. Another gift for the backward point fielder Martin Guptill. Ali Khil after holding on to his defence for quite some time now tries to go after Colin de Grandhomme. This was a fuller one and Ali Khil looks to go for a square drive only to meet his end.

AFG 126/6 vs NZ in 29 overs: It is one of those days for Matt Henry, who tops the wicket-taking charts at the 2019 World Cup as of now. A thick inside edge goes for a boundary towards the fine leg fence off the very first ball of the over. Unlucky!

AFG 121/6 vs NZ in 28 overs: James Neesham continues the good work. Just one run from that over. The batsmen are absolutely not looking to go after him.

AFG 109/6 vs NZ in 24 overs: Woah, that is Jimmy Neesham's maiden ODI fifer! What a day he is having out here. The extra bounce does the trick again as Najibullah edges it too Latham as well.

In walks Ikram Ali Khil, who has been flown in as replacement of injured wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad. Wondering who he is? We have something for you to read.

 

AFG 105/5 vs NZ in 23.3 overs: James Neesham snaps up his fourth as Mohammad Nabi edges it to glovesman Latham.

AFG 99/4 vs NZ in 22.2 overs: Play resumes after rain delay of 27 minutes.

AFG 99/4 vs NZ in 22.2 overs: RAIN UPDATE - Match has been scheduled to restart at 8:35 pm. No overs lost.

AFG 99/4 vs NZ in 22.2 overs: RAIN UPDATE - The showers have somewhat subsided as the covers are coming off.

AFG 99/4 vs NZ in 22.2 overs: Oh no! It is raining again at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

AFG 89/4 vs NZ in 21 overs: Play resumes at Taunton.

  • Match to resume at 8:00 pm IST, no overs lost.
     
  • Good news... The covers are being removed now. Play should resume shortly.
     
  • Well there's bad news. Rain stops play in Taunton.

AFG 79/4 vs NZ in 19 overs: A boundary comes in this over after quite some time now. Shahidi moves to 6 off 29 balls.

AFG 71/4 vs NZ in 16 overs: Ferguson continues to trouble the batsmen at the crease with pace and bounce. This is his third maiden over on the trot.

AFG 70/4 vs NZ in 14.1 overs: Why would Gulbadin Naib go for a review after having been given out, caught behind? Naib tries to go after a short one wide of off stump and ends up edging it.

AFG 66/3 vs NZ in 12.3 overs: And another one bites the dust as Rahmat has to take the long walk back to the pavilion now. Rahmat who was looking to flick Neesham down the leg-side ends up hitting it to Guptill at backward point.

AFG 66/2 vs NZ in 11.1 overs: And that has been the problem with Afghanistan. The Kiwis, who were looking for a breakthrough two overs ago have now been gifted two in two overs. Lockie Ferguson gets his reward this time as Noor Ali departs. Fails to judge the length of the delivery and edges it down leg side to the keeper.

AFG 66/1 vs NZ in 10.5 overs: James Neesham gets the breakthrough! Not reading the field well this time, Hazratullah goes for the drive again but he finds Colin Munro this time.

AFG 50/0 vs NZ in 8.4 overs: Pummelled towards the covers this time... Hazratullah is surely enjoying his time out in the middle! The ball races to the fence in the blink of an eye and before one could realise, 50 is up on the scoreboard.

AFG 46/0 vs NZ in 8.2 overs: A massive six over square leg that... 89 metres! Hazratullah hammers the first maximum of the day. The crowd is loving it.

AFG 37/0 vs NZ in 7 overs: What a start for Afghanistan! Noor Ali's third exquisite shot today beats the mid-on fielder bringing up Afghanistan's highest opening partnership in its last nine matches.

 

AFG 27/0 vs NZ in 5 overs: Noor Ali welcomes Matt Henry with a glorious drive to beat the bowler straight down the ground to the ropes.

Hazratullah survives a scare a few balls later. He skies one towards long on and it gives enough time for three fielders to converge under it.

However, confusion ensues and both Martin Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme let the batsman survive.

The surface is very dry and it is quite the green top. However, the ball doesn't seem to be moving much. It is quite windy as well.

Here is all you need to know about the venue: Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

 

AFG 12/0 vs NZ in 1 over: The scoring for Afghanistan begins with three back-to-back boundaries coming off the bat of Hazratullah Zazai - an early lesson for Matt Henry. Taunton is a ground with short boundaries and we will surely witness some big shots all around the park today.

This is the same ground where 20 years ago, on 26th May, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid traumatised the Sri Lankan bowling attack by putting together a 2nd-wicket partnership of 318 runs to help India score a massive 373/6 in their 50 overs in a 1999 World Cup group match.

Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali are at the crease. Matt Henry will open the attack.

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Teams:

Afghanistan (Playing XI): Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(c), Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Alikhil(w), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan

New Zealand (Playing XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(w), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

 

Kane Williamson wins the toss and opts to field. Interestingly, Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib forgets the changes in his team. He says, "We have three changes - Dawlat is resting and Aftab comes in, Noor Ali plays his first game and I forgot the last change, but yes there are three changes."

Clearly, there is pressure on Afghanistan and it shows...

 

THE FORECAST

Chances of rain: 40% from 2pm to 5pm

Temperature: 15 degrees

 

Here is a look into of the much awaited contest between the Kiwis and Afghanistan:

New Zealand will be expected to make it three wins from three at the Cricket World Cup when it faces Afghanistan in Taunton.

The Black Caps followed up their crushing win over Sri Lanka by getting home by just two wickets in a tense encounter with Bangladesh on Wednesday. Ross Taylor made a crucial 82 after the impressive Matt Henry claimed 4 for 47 in a gripping contest at The Oval.

It would be a major shock if New Zealand fails to maintain its 100 per cent record on Saturday.

Read | Kiwis ready to counter Afghan spin, says Taylor

Afghanistan has lost both games so far and suffered another blow when wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury, with Ikram Ali Khil replacing him.

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Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib believes Mohammad Shahzad's energetic presence off the pitch will be missed as much as his play on it.   -  Getty Images

 

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls (hamstring) is back in contention, but paceman Tim Southee (calf) remains sidelined.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

New Zealand thumped sorry Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in its first match in Cardiff, but the nerves were jangling as it made hard work of reaching its target of 245 against the Tigers.

Australia consigned Afghanistan to a seven-wicket loss in Bristol before Gulbadin Naib's men went down by 34 runs in a rain-affected match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

TEAMS

Afghanistan (From): Ikram Ali Khil, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(c), Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Noor Ali Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Hamid Hassan

Afghanistan all 15 World Cup player profiles

New Zealand (From): Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee (vc), Ross Taylor

New Zealand all 15 World Cup player profiles

 

WHAT THEY SAID

New Zealand seamer Matt Henry: "We have a new challenge coming up against Afghanistan in different conditions. We'll have to adapt and bring our 'A game' to put our best foot forward to get another win."

Read | Naib rues Shahzad World Cup injury blow

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We can take a lot of [positive] things from the last game with Sri Lanka. One time it looked like we were in the game. Me and Najibullah [Zadran] batted really well. We hope we carry on our momentum in the upcoming matches."

OPTA FACTS

- The Black Caps won the only previous ODI between the two nations by six wickets at the 2015 World Cup.

- New Zealand has won 10 of its last 11 World Cup matches — its only defeat during that span coming in the final against Australia four years ago.

- Kane Williamson has scored 747 runs in his last 10 ODI knocks in England and Wales.

- Mohammad Nabi took 4 for 30 against Sri Lanka, equalling his best ODI figures. Just two of his 90 legal balls have been struck for boundaries in the tournament.

 

The match, which starts at 06:00 PM IST, will be streamed on Hotstar and telecast on Star Sports Network live.