Afghanistan, flying high after the win over England, was brought crashing to earth by a clinical performance from New Zealand, which handed the former a 149-run defeat at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
Asked to bat first, half-centuries from skipper Tom Latham (68) and Glenn Phillips (71) helped the Black Caps post 288 for six. On a two-paced pitch, Latham and Phillips combined well for a 144-run stand for the fifth wicket to bail their side out of a tricky situation and end up with an above-par score.
In reply, Afghanistan’s chase never found rhythm, with Matt Henry and Trent Boult removing openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran cheaply. Later, Lockie Ferguson (3/19) and Mitchell Santner (3/39) chipped in with wickets at regular intervals to have Afghanistan fold for just 139 and seal New Zealand’s fourth win in as many matches.
The Afghans had their moments in the match with the ball to press ahead, but some poor fielding—they dropped four catches—and the sensible approach from Latham and Phillips proved too good for Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men.
In the afternoon, after losing Devon Conway early, Will Young (54) and Rachin Ravindra laid a solid platform for the Kiwis with a 79-run stand for the second wicket.
Young, dropped on one by Rahmat Shah at first slip off left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, quickly went after the spinners, using his feet against Mohammed Nabi to hit a couple of sixes before cutting Rashid Khan behind point twice as he got his second half-century of the tournament.
Then, medium-pacer Azmatullah Omarzai gave the Afghans an opening with twin strikes in the 21st. He first castled Ravindra, going for a slog, before Young inside-edged to the ‘keeper, who took a brilliant catch diving to his left.
When Daryl Mitchell pulled a Rashid straight to short midwicket, New Zealand was in trouble at 110 for four, losing three wickets in nine deliveries for just one run.
The duo played some old-fashioned one-day cricket, patiently rotating the strike through the middle-phase of the innings, and were unafraid even to play out the odd maiden. There were no boundaries for over ten overs when Rashid and Omarzai, whose first spell read 5-0-18-2, operated in tandem and dried up the runs.
The first sign of aggression came when Phillips swept Nabi over midwicket for a six before he guided Rashid Khan down the fine-leg fence. He then launched into left-arm pacer Farooqi with two consecutive sixes, one over midwicket and then over square leg, to step on the accelerator.
After his half-century, Latham, who was dropped twice on 35 and 38 off Rashid, went after Omarzai, smashing the pacer for two sixes and a four in one over.
Mark Chapman (25 n.o. off 12 balls) then gave the innings the final flourish as he took apart Omarzai for two fours and six as New Zealand scored 103 runs in the last ten overs to end up with a total, which was more than enough.
- WPL 2024: Asha’s five-wicket haul helps RCB defeat UP Warriorz in a thriller
- IND vs ENG, 4th Test: Bashir’s exploits, under Nostradamus Stokes, leave India in tatters
- Musheer Khan hits maiden double-century for Mumbai in Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Baroda
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24 quarterfinals: Anubhav, Kartikeya hand Madhya Pradesh first-innings lead against Andhra on Day 2
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24 quarterfinals: Musheer Khan’s double-century puts Mumbai in strong position on Day 2