Continuing their unbeaten streak, the Black Caps demonstrated cricketing excellence by setting a challenging target for Afghanistan and then decimating their batting lineup, securing a prominent position in the tournament.
Afghanistan, tasked with a daunting 289-run chase, crumbled under the relentless pressure of New Zealand’s bowlers, particularly Trent Boult and Matt Henry. The pitch, equally challenging for both sides, seemed particularly unforgiving for the Afghans, who lost their key batsman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, early in the chase. Despite a resilient 36 from Rahmat Shah, the team capitulated at a meagre 139, marking a comprehensive victory for the Black Caps by 149 runs.
The Kiwi bowling attack, fiercely competitive, shared the success, with Mitchell Santner and Lockie Ferguson leading the charge with three wickets apiece, followed by contributive performances from Boult, Henry, and Rachin Ravindra.
Afghanistan’s Fielding Woes; New Zealand’s Batting Prowess
Earlier in the game, New Zealand’s decision to bat first seemed to pay off as they rallied to a formidable 289, largely due to the vital partnership between Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham. Both batters capitalized on Afghanistan’s multiple fielding errors, combining courage and skill to rescue their team from a precarious 110-4. Their partnership and Mark Chapman’s explosive cameo set a target too steep for the Afghans, who had showcased spirited bowling, particularly from Azmat Omarzai.
The victory, marred by Afghanistan’s fielding lapses, saw them regress in the tournament standings after their previous high of defeating England. In contrast, the spotlight now shifts to New Zealand’s anticipated clash with India, pitting two undefeated titans against each other, making it a potential tournament highlight.