Afghanistan vs. New Zealand
|Date & Time||Saturday June 8, 2019, 8:30 AM (EDT)|
Afghanistan 5.50 New Zeland 1.17
Afghanistan and New Zealand find themselves at opposite ends of the table after their opening two matches. The two teams have had contrasting starts to the World Cup with New Zealand winning both their matches and Afghanistan losing both of their matches.
New Zealand began their campaign with the thrashing of Sri Lanka which saw them bowl out The Lions for 136 runs after just 29.2 overs. In reply, Martin Guptil scored 73 and Colin Munro hit 58 as New Zealand chased down their target in 16.1 overs without losing a single wicket.
New Zealand's second game wasn’t as straight forward however they still managed to claim the victory. The Kiwi's reduced Bangladesh to 244 all out and reached their target with just two wickets and 17 balls remaining.
Afghanistan lost their first match by seven wickets to one of the pre-tournament favorites Australia. Whist they will be relatively happy with their efforts, they only managed to take three wickets against the Aussies and never really looked threatening.
Afghanistan then lost their second match at the hands of Sri Lanka in a rain affected match in Cardiff. Afghanistan managed to bowl out The Lions for 201 and must have thought they were in with a shout before some destructive Sri Lankan bowling tore through their batting line-up.
One thing Afghanistan can take from that match was their impressive bowling figures. Mohammad Nabi was the pick of the bowlers. NaBI claimed figures of 4/30 and looked very dangerous with the ball. Rashid Khan (2/17) and Dawlat Zadran (2/34) also put in admirable displays.
If Afghanistan are to stand any chance against New Zealand on Saturday, they will need to play to their strengths and rely on their bowlers to take early wickets. In Rashid Khan they possess the number 3 ranked ODI bowler in the world and he also sits at the top of the T20 rankings.
Unfortunately for Afghanistan, New Zealand’s bowlers are also extremely potent. Matt Henry already has seven wickets to his name after just two World Cup matches and looks to be in fine form. Lockie Ferguson has also taken four wickets from two matches.
Matt Henry’s 3/29 from just seven overs against Sri Lanka was followed up by 4/47 against Bangladesh. Afghanistan will need to be at their very best to stop the in-form Henry and the rest of the New Zealand bowling attack.
It’s very difficult to see Afghanistan coping with the quality that New Zealand possess in every department. They have some of the world’s top ODI batsmen in their ranks and their bowlers seem to be thriving in the British conditions.
We have seen some upsets at this World Cup already but I can’t see another one coming in this match. New Zealand are simply too strong for Afghanistan and should cruise to victory on Saturday.