New Zealand successfully defended 288/6 to win their clash against Afghanistan in the 16th match of the World Cup at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
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.
Earlier, 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.