Chennai, Oct 18: Asked to bat first, New Zealand were 284/6 in 49.5 overs against Afghanistan in the 16th match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 at the Chepauk Stadium, here on Wednesday.
Opener Will Young, middle order allrounder Glenn Phillips and skipper Tom Latham hit half centuries to let the Kiwis cross the 250-mark in a turning track.
Earlier, spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman removed attacking opener Devon Conway for 20. Conway was LBW to a length ball that was quicker and fuller. Initially, the umpire turned down the appeal, but Afghans got the decision in their favour after reviewing it.
Will Young and Rachin Ravindra built a solid second wicket partnership to ensure that Afghanistan spinners do not replicate what they did against England.
But the Black Caps could not succeed for long. Rachin (32) was bowled by Azmatullah Omarzai trying to play an ugly cross-batted shot.
In the same over, Azmatullah also claimed the other opener Will Young, who was caught by keeper Ikram Akhil. The keeper took a stunning catch as he dived to his left and Young had to depart after a fine 54 in 64 balls.
It was then up to seasoned Rashid Khan to get rid of dangerman Daryl Mitchell (1). He was caught by Ibrahim Zardan, who took a fine catch, as New Zeland were suddenly reduced to 110/4 in 21.4 overs. The Kiwis lost three quick wickets in a span of only nine balls.
But then Tom Lotham and Glenn Phillips did well to ensure that the Kiwis cross the vital 200-mark in the turning pitch.
Glenn Phillips finally was claimed by right arm pacer Naveen-ul-Haq in the 48th over, caught by Rashid Khan.But his 71 in 80 balls was very crucial from the New Zealand total point of view.
Naveen-ul-Haq in the same over also got rid of Latham, who put a compact 68 (74 balls).
However, Afghanistan after winning the toss, choosing to bowl first in a hot and humid Chennai afternoon, did confuse some experts.
Besides, in the spin-friendly track, the Asian team preferring the third pacer to spinner Nur Ahmed again was bit surprising to some others.
Skipper Tom Lotham and Glenn Philips had to toil hard to consolidate the position.
But after beating 2019 champions England by 69 runs in Delhi on October 15, Afghanistan team seemed to be a very jubilant bunch.
On the other hand, the Black Caps like India, are unbeaten after three outings and are comfortably placed at 2nd spot in the Points Table.
The Kiwis, in absence of their injured skipper Kan Williamson are being led by his deputy Tom Lotham.
New Zealand XI
Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Tom Latham (Captain and wicket-keeper), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wicket-keeper), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.