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ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Seek Turnaround Against Unbeaten New Zealand

Cricketnext Staff |June 8, 2019, 7:52 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Seek Turnaround Against Unbeaten New Zealand

Afghanistan will look to improve drastically on their showings in the ICC World Cup 2019 when they take on an unbeaten New Zealand side at Taunton on Saturday (June 8).

After their first two games, the Kane Williamson-led side are at the top of the standings over Australia on net run rate (NRR) thanks to them registering two consecutive yet contrasting victories.

They beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their opening game before getting a narrow two-wicket victory against Bangladesh on Wednesday at The Oval in London.

Meanwhile, Gulbadin Naib's side enter the match having been on the wrong end of a seven-wicket thrashing against Australia in Bristol before they were bowled out for 152 inside 33 overs chasing a victory target of 202 against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

The two sides have faced each other only once in a match that took place during the 2015 World Cup at Napier. New Zealand won that match by six wickets.

For the Kiwis, the main focus will be on avoiding another collapse like the one they suffered against Bangladesh. In general, the team has been firing at some level on all cylinders.

Afghanistan will need to score more runs than they have so far. However, they will have to do that without the services of Mohammad Shahzad after the wicketkeeper was ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

They will depend heavily on the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi to take regular wickets against an opposition that hasn’t played against them much.

Last Five ODIs

Afghanistan: LLWLW

Afghanistan’s only two previous wins in their last five matches came against Ireland and Scotland before the tournament. They will need to completely overhaul their form in order to get the better of New Zealand.

New Zealand: WWWWW

The Kiwis have been in fine form lately, having won all of their previous five games – four of which, incidentally, were against Bangladesh. They haven’t yet been as destructive as they can be as a unit but have done more than enough to finish off games.

Players to Watch Out For

Matt Henry: The New Zealand pacer picked up four wickets against Bangladesh and is currently the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with seven wickets. He has taken a total of 14 wickets in his last 5 ODIs and will hope to continue his recent run of form.

Mohammad Nabi: The veteran off-spinner has been Afghanistan’s best performer with the ball thus far, taking 4-30 in their loss to Sri Lanka. His ability to bowl well in the Powerplays might help the Afghans get early wickets up front.

Team News/Availability

Afghanistan: Shahzad’s injury means Afghanistan have brought in 18-year old Ali Khil as his replacement.

New Zealand: The Kiwis have no injury concerns ahead of their third game.

Squads

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (C), Ali Khil (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
NZ
5 4 0 1 9 +1.59
2
ENG
5 4 1 0 8 +1.86
3
AUS
5 4 1 0 8 +0.81
4
IND
4 3 0 1 7 +1.02
5
BAN
5 2 2 1 5 -0.27
6
SL
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
7
WI
5 1 3 1 3 +0.27
8
SA
6 1 4 1 3 -0.19
9
PAK
5 1 3 1 3 -1.93
10
AFG
5 0 5 0 0 -2.08

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more