New Zealand continues to dominate 2023 World Cup: Beat Afghanistan by 149 runs
New Zealand has made significant strides towards the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup, clinching its fourth consecutive win with a commanding victory over Afghanistan. The Kiwi team triumphed over Afghanistan by a convincing margin of 149 runs. The Afghan side, in their pursuit of a target of 289 runs, found themselves all out for 139 runs in the 35th over.
New Zealand’s dominance in this World Cup is evident in both batting and bowling. The top run-scorer and the leading wicket-taker in the tournament both hail from New Zealand. This demonstrates the team’s well-rounded strength and the depth of their talent pool.
In the match held at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai on a Wednesday, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bowl. At one point, the New Zealand team faced a slight hiccup, losing four wickets for 110 runs. However, Captain Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips came to the rescue with a remarkable partnership of 144 runs in 153 balls, propelling the team’s total to 288.
The decision by Afghanistan to bowl first was influenced by the expectation of a turning track. During the powerplay, Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissed Devon Conway, trapping him LBW in front of the wicket when he had scored 20 runs. After the powerplay, New Zealand’s score was 43 runs for the loss of just one wicket. The absence of Kane Williamson, the team’s star batsman, meant that the middle-order batsmen had to play with caution.
Will Young, the opening batsman, contributed with a well-compiled 52 runs off 64 balls. Captain Tom Latham added 68 runs to the tally, while Glenn Phillips scored an impressive 71 runs. Chapman remained unbeaten with a quickfire 25 runs from just 12 balls, helping New Zealand reach a competitive total of 280 runs. For Afghanistan, Naveen Ul Haq and Azmatullah both claimed two wickets each, while Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman took one wicket apiece.
Afghanistan’s batting, on the other hand, crumbled under the pressure of the Kiwi bowling attack. It was hard to believe that this was the same Afghanistan team that had previously defeated England. Rahmat was the top-scorer for Afghanistan, managing 36 runs off 62 balls. This statistic alone reflects the struggles faced by the Afghan batsmen against the formidable Kiwi bowling.
Following the powerplay, Afghanistan’s score was a meager 28 runs for the loss of two wickets. The most substantial partnership they could muster was 54 runs for the fourth wicket. The Kiwi spinners proved to be particularly challenging for the Afghan side. Mitchell Santner led the way, claiming three wickets for 39 runs in 7.4 overs, while Lockie Ferguson also took three wickets, conceding only 19 runs in 7 overs. Trent Boult chipped in with two wickets for 18 runs in his 7 overs, while Matt Henry and Rachin Ravindra secured one wicket each.
Mitchell Santner has been the standout bowler in the tournament, amassing a total of 11 wickets after featuring in four matches. His teammate Matt Henry closely follows with 9 wickets in the same number of matches.
Devon Conway, a Kiwi opener, has led the way in terms of scoring the most runs, amassing an impressive 249 runs in just four matches. In the fielding department, Mitchell Santner’s acrobatic catch towards square leg off the last ball of Lockie Ferguson’s 14th over stands out as one of the finest catches in the World Cup thus far.
As the World Cup progresses, the question arises: Can the New Zealand team pose a formidable challenge to India’s quest for the World Cup title? With their strong performances and top-notch players, New Zealand has certainly emerged as a team to watch, and their potential showdown with India in the World Cup promises to be an exciting contest.