TAUNTON, United Kingdom: New Zealand responded to Afghanistan’s blistering start with three quick wickets for no runs to check the minnows’ momentum at 66-3 in Saturday’s World Cup match in Taunton.
Having won the toss and elected to bowl first, New Zealand were hoping to see off winless Afghanistan as they looked to extend their 100 percent record with a third successive victory.
Initially, Afghanistan threatened to derail New Zealand’s plans as openers Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran put on 66 for the first wicket.
Unfurling a barrage of flamboyant strokes under sunny skies in the west country, Hazratullah hit three fours in the first over of the match off Matthew Henry.
That attacking start meant Afghanistan were scoring at a shade over six an over after the first 10 overs.
But New Zealand hit back when Jimmy Neesham induced a mistimed slog from Hazratullah, with Colin Munro taking the catch on the boundary to end the opener’s innings of 34 from 28 balls.
Lockie Ferguson was next to strike for New Zealand without the score advancing when he removed Noor Ali (31) with a leg-side delivery that was caught behind by Tom Latham.
And Afghanistan were still on 66 when Rahmat Shah was caught for a duck by Martin Guptill off Neesham as New Zealand took control.
Captain Gulbadin Naib was then caught behind by Latham off Neesham for four, leaving Afghanistan rocking at 70-4.—AFP