Afghanistan must be in high spirits after winning their last game against the defending champions England. But the Kiwis brought them back to the ground by defeating them comprehensively by a mammoth 149 runs, at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bowl first earlier in the day. The in-form New Zealand squad posted an above-par total of 288 runs with captain Tom Latham(68 in 74 balls), Glenn Phillips(71 in 80 balls), and opener Will Young(54 in 64 balls) being the prime contributors.
Will Young and Rachin Ravindra(32 in 41 balls) set up a solid foundation of 79 runs for the second wicket. Building on this, the partnership of Latham and Phillips worked wonders as they posted a 144-run stand for the fifth wicket. The Kiwis smashed 103 runs in the last 10 overs, drawing the curtain on their commendable 1st innings batting performance.
In response to the Kiwi challenge, the Afghans failed to find their groove. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaaz(11 in 21 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran(14 in 15 balls) fell victim to the Kiwi bowling attack quite early on, getting dismissed by Matt Henry(5-2-16-1) and Trent Boult(7-1-18-2) respectively.
The middle order tried to provide some respite with Rahmat Shah(36 in 62 balls), Azmatullah Omarzai(27 in 32 balls), and keeper Ikram Alikhil(19 in 21 balls) contributing some runs to the chase. But the fiery Kiwi bowling attack proved too much for the Afghans as they succumbed to it one by one with Lockie Ferguson(7-1-19-3) and Mitchell Santner(7.4-0-39-3) cleaning up the rest of the Afghan batting lineup.
New Zealand won by a mammoth 149 runs with Glenn Phillips(71) being named the Player-of-the-Match for his splendid batting performance. Winning with a huge margin, the New Zealand squad further boosted their net run rate and toppled India to become the table toppers.
An unassailable India would closely watch an undefeated New Zealand from the sidelines. In today’s India vs. Bangladesh match, it would be interesting to see how the Men In Blue respond in the game of one-upmanship with the Kiwis, till they finally meet for an epic clash on Sunday.
Here’s the latest look at the points table after Wednesday’s match: