With this triumph, the Black Caps maintain their unbeaten record in the event, reclaiming the top spot with a fourth consecutive win.
NZ vs AFG: AS IT HAPPENED
In pursuit of a challenging target of 289 on a spinner-friendly wicket at Chepauk, Afghanistan struggled and could only muster 139 runs in 34.4 overs. The Afghans found Lockie Ferguson’s pace (3/19 in 7 overs) too challenging, and Mitchell Santner’s deliveries (3/39 in 7.4 overs) proved equally formidable, turning sharply at times.
This followed triple half-centuries from Will Young (54), Tom Latham (68), and Glenn Phillips (71), ensuring that New Zealand posted a winning total of 288/6 in 50 overs.
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During the chase, Afghanistan found themselves at 43 for 3 by the 14th over, with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (8) becoming the third dismissal, courtesy of Ferguson.
Then, the pair of Rahmat Shah (36) and Azmatullah Omarzai (27) took brief control of the chase, putting on a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket.
However, the New Zealanders already had the upper hand, and with the ball turning, they hardly allowed them to score freely.
In the 26th over, pacer Trent Boult got the partnership broken, getting rid of Omarzai.
Thereon, the Afghans barely had any answers as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, New Zealand recovered well from a mini mid-innings slump to post a commendable total. However, a total of five dropped catches did make things a bit hard for the Afghans, especially Rashid, who saw a couple of his chances go abegging.
Young , Latham and Phillips’ half-centuries ensures that the Black Caps posted an above-par total on a track where stroke-making wasn’t an easy proposition.
Phillips and Latham put on 144 invaluable runs for the fifth wicket and it could well prove to be a game-changer.
Put into bat first, the Kiwis lost opener Devon Conway (20) in the seventh over, with spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman trapping him leg-before.
However, the pair of opener Young and in-form batter Rachin Ravindra (32) took charge and put on a convincing 79-run stand for the second wicket.
A chance to stump Ravindra was missed, whereas spinner Mohammad Nabi was put under pressure by the Black Caps batters, as he was attacked quite regularly.
Eventually, it was pacer Azmatullah Omarzai who got the partnership broken in the 21st over, cleaning up Ravindra off a straight delivery, as the batter attempted to swing it towards mid-wicket, but missed it completely in the process.
It was at this moment the New Zealanders had a brief collapse, losing Young and Daryl Mitchell (1) by the 22nd over to Omarzai and spinner Rashid Khan, respectively, as the score read 110 for four.
While Young had already scored his seventh ODI half-century, he was notably dropped in the second over by Rahmat Shah off Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Nevertheless, New Zealand managed to recover soon as skipper Latham and Phillips put up another fine stand that defined the tone for the rest of their innings.
The duo also brought up their respective 23rd and third ODI half-centuries each, despite the Afghani bowlers keeping the Kiwi scoring rate in check.
As the pair began upping the ante and the scoring rate post the 45th over, the partnership was broken by pacer Naveen-ul-Haq in the 48th, with both the set batters departing in the same over.
But, there was still some work to be done, and it was Mark Chapman (25 not out) who came up with some late blitz, including two fours and a six, to ensure that the Black Caps went past the 275-run mark on this track.
For Afghanistan, Omarzai and Naveen were the stars with the ball, seizing a couple of wickets each, whereas Rashid was a no-brainer with his economical spell.
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch World Cup 2023: New Zealand beat Afghanistan by 149 runs, register fourth win of tournament