South East Asian Headlines & Breaking News

New Zealand continue winning run as Afghanistan rue missed chances

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New Zealand successfully defended 288/6 to win their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup clash at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai against Afghanistan.

The Black Caps appeared to be in a spot of trouble at 110/4 in the first innings after three quick wickets derailed a solid start.

But a partnership worth 144 between Glenn Phillips (71) and Tom Latham (68) helped New Zealand up to a challenging total, aided by some sloppy fielding from Afghanistan.

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 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.

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. An inside edge swerved toward Alikhil’s left and the keeper pounced at it while staying low to complete the take.

New Zealand had barely recovered when Rashid Khan struck for the Asian side. He had Daryl Mitchell pull one to midwicket and Afghanistan were well and truly in the game.

With Afghanistan bowling beautifully and sensing the opportunity to set up their second shock result in a matter of days, 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.

Wickets tumble in Afghanistan’s chase

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.

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.

Knowing that there were at least ten overs of part-time bowling to come, Afghanistan were happy to rebuild and give their middle order a chance.

But the chase suffered another blow when Mitchell Santner pulled off a brilliant catch to remove the skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi for a conservative 29-ball 8.

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.

Playing XIs

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

New Zealand: Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Tom Latham (c, wk), Daryl Mitchell,  Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Mark Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

Source: ICC

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