There were some impediments, a few roadblocks along the innings but in the end, it was a cakewalk for the Kiwis. New Zealand secured their fourth victory in a row with a net run rate boosting victory against Afghanistan. It was a classical New Zealand team performance with the quartet of Phillps, Latham, Santner, and Ferguson leading from the front.
Afghanistan had a horrendous with a lot of missed catches and below-average ground fielding. A humid day in Chennai brought another statement victory for the boys from Oceania who keep on searching for their first World Cup title.
New Zealand were forced to make a change to their playing eleven. Their inspirational skipper Kane Williamson is out with a finger injury after just one game. Will Young returned to take his spot. Afghanistan played with an unchanged XI that secured a famous victory against England in the previous game.
- Devon Conway 2. Will Young 3. Rachin Ravindra 4. Daryl Mitchell 5. Tom Latham (Cap.) (WK) 6. Glenn Phillps 7. Mark Chapman 8. Mitchell Santner 9. Matt Henry 10. Lockie Ferguson 11. Trent Boult
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz 2. Ibrahim Zadran 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi (Cap.) 5. Ikram Alikhil (WK) 6. Azmatullah Omarzai 7. Mohammad Nabi 8. Rashid Khan 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Naveen-Ul-Haq 11. Fazalhaq Farooqi
Afghan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi won the coin toss and decided to bowl first. It came as a surprise to many as the pitch looked ideal for batting early on.
|Venue||The 16th game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.|
|Date||The game started from 02:00 pm IST on Wednesday, October 18|
Captaincy & Tactics
The Afghan captain Hashmatullah’s decision to bowl first raised some eyebrows because of the grueling conditions in Chennai. The temperature rose as high as 44F on a humid day. The Afghan opening bowlers struggled to make their mark on the game with some ordinary bowling. Farooqi looked ordinary by dragging it short on numerous occasions.
Omarzai bowled wicket to wicket and got his reward twice in his first over. After three quick wickets, the Afghan spinners found themselves in a perfect scenario tailor-made for them: to bowl at the new batsmen with an attacking field. This tactic yielded amazing results in the previous game, but the pair of Latham and Phillps stood firm. They did not take unnecessary risks and kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos. New Zealand picked up 78 runs from the last six overs as Chapman displayed his wide range of cricketing shots.
Afghanistan lost the inspirational Gurbaz early on to a brilliant Henry delivery. Rahmat Shah was content with shielding his wicket rather than playing some shots to chase the target down. Once Ferguson came into the attack it was all over for the Afghans. Santner has been in an impressive run of form of late and varied his pace well to trouble the batters.
Glenn Phillps averages 28.60 in his ODI career while playing on Indian soil, the number tells a tale of struggle and mediocrity. But the attacking batsman kept his basic instinct in check to build up a solid innings typifying his tag of being a team man. He maintained 83% control throughout his innings despite making minor aberrations. The batting all-rounder put the pull shot to great use, scoring 22 runs through this particular stroke. He ultimately changed gear to hit 4 sixes to give the innings some much-needed impetus.
It has not been a good year for Tom Latham with the bat with 536 runs scored at an average of 29.77. But the acting captain played a captain’s knock of 78 runs to pull his side out of murky waters. A change in batting stance enables Latham to open up the offside and the results are evident – he has scored 37% more runs on the offside than the previous year.
Will Young scored a fine half-century and made the Afghan bowlers look ordinary during the early exchanges. After sitting with his pads on through almost thirty overs, Mark Chapman finally got the opportunity to swing his bat. The former Hong Kong international pummelled the ball hard by hitting a couple of fours and a massive six over the deep mid-wicket fielder. His innings of 25 at 208.33 made sure the Afghans would have to chase down a massive target for the win.
The Afghans looked lackadaisical and sluggish from the first ball. Gurbaz fell early on and the promising innings of Zadran met its demise at the hands of Boult. Rahmat Shah’s innings of 36 from 62 deliveries was a sore to the eyes. He just hit one boundary and never showed any attacking intent in pursuit of a huge target. Azmatullah Omarzai showed a lot of promise by driving the ball along the ground. This
dismissal made sure Afghanistan would succumb to another ignominious defeat at the World Cup stage.
Azmatullah Omarzai has claimed 9 wickets at an average of 51.99 in his brief ODI career. But two of them came in this game. He hit the stumps of Rachin Ravindra who played an uncharacteristic wild horizontal bat shot. Then he pulled an inswinger to get rid of Will Young – both in his first over. Fazalhaw Farooqi’s dip in form continued with another wicketless display.
Naveen-Ul-Haq was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets to his name. Rashid Khan gave away only 43 runs in 10 overs, but he was largely frustrated because of the constant failures of his failures. Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were good during the middle overs but managed to bowl only 5 dot deliveries in the last 15 overs.
Lockie Ferguson came steaming in and clocked regularly around 145 to pepper the batsmen with short balls. He bowled 16% bouncers of the total innings. Ferguson was economical with just 19 conceded in 7 overs. He has picked up 14 wickets in 14 games in his World Cup career.
Mitchell Santner does not possess the necessary attributes to turn the ball. But he mixes up his pace to confuse the batsmen. This is his third most productive year in terms of wickets with 15 scalps to his name already. Santner has picked up 17 wickets in his World Cup career.
Matt Henry swung the ball early on with some movements off the pitch. He was parsimonious with 16 runs from 5 overs. Glenn Phillps also came good with bowling with 13 runs from 3 overs. Afghanistan lost their last 6 wickets for just 24 runs, a monumental collapse of 34 deliveries.
Afghanistan stunned the cricketing world with a shock win against the reigning world champions. Another upset seemed to be on the cards when they reduced New Zealand to 110 for 4. But their abysmal fielding let them down throughout the innings. This type of fielding is not good enough for the highest level. Ikram Alikhil pulled a stunner by diving to his left to dismiss Will Young. Even missed one catching opportunity and a stumping chance.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman dropped a dolly of Phillps. Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi dropped an easy grab at midwicket. In total, six catching and one run-out was missed by the Afghans. A stat they need to improve if they want to stay alive in the tournament.
New Zealand’s fielding performance was impeccable and impressive as always. Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell both finished with a couple of catches to their name. Rachin Ravindra caught Rahmat Shah off his bowling to end the batsman’s uncomfortable stay at the crease.
Will Young marked his return to the team with a well-made fifty to give New Zealand a decent start. The reliable Tom Latham and the ultimate utility man Glenn Phillps both posted 70+ scores to give their team a respectable amount to bowl with. Mark Chapman’s power blitz of 25 made sure the Kiwis finished on a high. Naveen-Ul-Haq was the pick of the Afghan bowlers with a couple of scalps to his name.
Rahmat Shah was the highest scorer in the Afghan innings with 36. Azmatullah Omarzai tried his best to give the chase some momentum by scoring 27 runs off 35 balls. Lockie Ferguson and Mitchell Santner continued their form in the tournament with both finishing with three wickets each.
New Zealand was playing well with Ravindra and Yound building a solid partnership. But three quick wickets for just one run had New Zealand gasping for some air. Glenn Phillps joined Tom Latham in the middle with the Afghan spinner licking their lips. But the duo made a 144-run stand by playing the ball across the ground and hitting through the line afterward. Although the Afghan fielders did not help themselves with big opportunities missed, it was a monumental effort to quell the spinners on a tricky track. This partnership changed the whole complexion of the game and New Zealand regained control of this crucial clash.
New Zealand maintained their perfect start and beat Afghanistan by 149 runs.
Player of the Match
Glenn Phillips was adjudged to be the best performer of the game for his fantastic knock of 71 runs from 80 deliveries to steer New Zealand out of trouble.
|New Zealand Total: 288/6 (50 overs)||Afghanistan Total: 139/10 (34.4 overs)|
|Glenn Phillps 71 (80)||Rahmat Shah 36 (62)|
|Tom Latham 78 (84)||Azmatullah Omarzai 27 (32)|
|Naveen Ul Haq 2/48||Lockie Ferguson 3/19|
|Azmatullah Omarzai 2/56||Mitchell Santner 3/39|
Another day, another clinical performance from the Kiwis. Despite the early batting woes, they recovered in time to record their fourth victory in a row. Afghanistan never looked comfortable during the chase, was all out before the 35th over eventually. New Zealand will face the host Indians in a mouth-watering clash on Sunday. Afghanistan will like to get some momentum back against Pakistan on Monday the 2023 Cricket World Cup is slowly heading towards its crescendo.