Kiwis win third straight
A seven-wicket victory at Somerset has given New Zealand three wins from three games to start the ICC Cricket World Cup and consigned Afghanistan to their third straight loss.
Afghanistan were bowled out for 172 after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions yesterday in Taunton. Jimmy Neesham (5-31) and Lockie Ferguson (4-37) reined in the Afghan innings after Hazrat Zazai (34) and Noor Ali Zadran (31) got away to a flyer with a 66-run opening stand.
After the innings derailed with four wickets for four runs in 20 balls, Hashmatullah Shahidi dug in to bat with the lower-order and top-scored for Afghanistan with 59.
Kane Williams led the way in New Zealand’s chase with an unbeaten 79, including an 89-run third-wicket partnership with ex-captain Ross Taylor (48) as New Zealand reached 173-3 in the 33rd over.
Compounding woes for Afghanistan, star spinner Rashid Khan was hit on the helmet while he was batting and couldn’t contribute for an Afghan bowling attack trying to defend a small total.
After three games in 10 days, Afghanistan get a week off before taking on South Africa in Cardiff.
New Zealand’s degree of difficulty increases with a game against 2011 champions India in Nottingham on Thursday.