Afghanistan received a sobering reality check on October 18 in Chennai, India, from ruthless New Zealand, which defeated them by a score of 149 runs less than 96 hours after they defeated the incumbent world champions, England.
With their fourth straight triumph, the Black Caps have won four straight matches and are now undefeated in the competition.
Afghanistan could only score 139 runs in 34.4 overs when chasing a challenging 289 runs on a track that was favorable to spinners at Chepauk. The pace set by Lockie Ferguson (3/19 in 7 overs) was too much for the Afghans to handle, and Mitchell Santner's (3/39 in 7.4 overs) deliveries, which occasionally turned a mile, were met with no resistance.
After New Zealand posted a winning total of 288/6 in 50 overs thanks to triple half-centuries from Will Young (54), Tom Latham (68), and Glenn Phillips (71), this was the case.
By the 14th over of their chase, Afghanistan were down to 43 for 3, with captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (#8) becoming the third player to be bowled out by Ferguson.
Black Caps go top ?— ICC (@ICC) October 18, 2023
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New Zealand’s winning start continues along with a big NRR boost. Read the match report below ? ?#NZvAFG #CWC23https://t.co/fAzSSg5YLF
Then, a 54-run stand between Rahmat Shah (36) and Azmatullah Omarzai (27) for the fourth wicket allowed them to temporarily take control of the chase.
But because the New Zealanders were in the lead and the ball was moving, they hardly ever allowed their opponents to score easily.
Trent Boult, a pacer, broke the partnership in the 26th over by removing Omarzai.
The Afghans scarcely had any responses after that as they kept losing wickets.
Earlier, New Zealand made a solid total after overcoming a brief mid-innings dip. But the Afghans did struggle a little bit, notably Rashid, who had a few of his opportunities go awry due to a total of five lost catches.
The half-centuries by Young, Latham, and Phillips guarantee that the Black Caps recorded an above-par total on a difficult course.
The 144 crucial runs that Phillips and Latham added for the fifth wicket might very well shift the course of the match.
First to bat, the Kiwis lost their star player Devon Conway (20) when spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman caught him leg-before in the seventh over.
But the duo of opener Young and hot batsman Rachin Ravindra (32) seized control and put up a commanding 79-run partnership for the second wicket.
A opportunity to stump Ravindra was lost, but the Black Caps hitters consistently attacked spinner Mohammad Nabi, putting him under pressure.
The partnership was eventually ended in the 21st over by bowler Azmatullah Omarzai, who dismissed Ravindra off a straight delivery as the batsman attempted to swing it towards mid-wicket but utterly missed it.
The New Zealanders experienced a minor collapse at this point, losing Young and Daryl Mitchell (1) by the 22nd over to spinner Rashid Khan and Omarzai, respectively, as the score read 110 for four.
Young was notably dropped in the second over by Rahmat Shah off Fazalhaq Farooqi despite having already reached his sixth ODI half-century.
Nevertheless, New Zealand quickly bounced back with to another strong stand from their captain Latham and opener Phillips, who set the standard for the remainder of their innings.
Though the Afghani bowlers restrained the Kiwi scoring rate, the pair also reached their individual 23rd and third ODI half-centuries.
The partnership was ended by pacer Naveen-ul-Haq in the 48th over, with both the set batsmen retiring in the same over, after the pair had started to increase the stakes and the scoring rate after the 45th over.
Rashid was a no-brainer with his economical stint, while Omarzai and Naveen were Afghanistan's bowling heroes, both taking two wickets.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young
Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq
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