New Zealand (NZ) defeated Afghanistan (AFG) by seven wickets in a ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 fixture in Taunton on Saturday. Opting to field first, the Kiwis rode on James Neesham's five-wicket haul and Lockie Ferguson's 4/37 to restrict Afghanistan to 172. In response, skipper Kane Williamson's unbeaten 79 and Ross Taylor's 48 helped the 2015 World Cup finalists seal the deal with 107 balls remaining. Get highlights of Afghanistan vs New Zealand here (SCORECARD | ENG vs BAN HIGHLIGHTS | POINTS TABLE | FULL SCHEDULE)
01:00 hrs IST: That's it. Thank you for joining us!
James Neesham, Player of the Match for his 5/31: "Obviously pretty pleased with how the ball came out today. Afghanistan put us under a lot of pressure at the start of the game but we knew if we kept pushing hard and putting the ball in the right areas that we'd be able to get through and obviously we did a pretty clinical job chasing. I just wanted to get back to what I do bowling and try to be consistent, hit the deck as much as possible and not worry about swinging the ball because that's not my forte."
00:47 hrs IST: Single and that's it. New Zealand win by seven wickets. Convincing win for the Kiwis. Williamson remains unbeaten on 79.
00:35 hrs IST: Successive boundaries from Williamson. Looks in top form! New Zealand are 155/3 after 29 overs.
00:26 hrs IST: Twenty-eight runs off the last 18 deliveries. New Zealand are 141/3 after 27 overs.
00:20 hrs IST: OUT! Alam gets his man. Taylor bowled for 48. Meanwhile, Williamson has reached his half-century. Tom Latham comes to the crease. New Zealand are 130/3 after 25.4 overs.
00:11 hrs IST: FOUR! Too short from Rahmat, Williamson rocks back and pulls it to the backward square leg boundary. New Zealand are 113/2 after 24 overs.
00:04 hrs IST: 100 up for New Zealand in the 22nd over. Williamson 41*, Taylor 29*
23:58 hrs IST: Taylor-Williamson partnership goes past fifty. New Zealand's chase on track. They are 93/2 after 20.1 overs, need 80 more runs.
23:47 hrs IST: Eight runs off the last two overs. New Zealand are 75/2 after 17 overs. Williamson 26*, Taylor 20*
23:37 hrs IST: Afghanistan keeping things tight but they wickets here. Six runs off the last 12 balls. New Zealand are 67/2 after 15 overs.
23:30 hrs IST: Naib completes his fourth over. Five runs from it, which includes a four off the third ball, hit by Taylor to third man. Sublime timing from the former Kiwi captain. New Zealand are 61/2 after 13 overs.
23:27 hrs IST: Nabi backs up his skipper with a fine over. Four runs -- a wide and three singles. New Zealand are 56/2 after 12 overs. They need 117 runs more to register three wins in as many outings.
23:23 hrs IST: Brilliant over from Naib. A maiden to Williamson. New Zealand are 52/2 after 11 overs.
23:20 hrs IST: Six runs from Alam's fifth over. Taylor hits the third ball for a four through square leg after a couple of singles. New Zealand are 52/2 after 10 overs.
23:09 hrs IST: OUT! Second wicket for Alam, gets the better of Munro 22(24). Short delivery, the New Zealander looks to play it over third man but doesn't get the timing and Hassan does the rest. Ross Taylor comes to the crease. New Zealand are 41/2 after 8 overs.
23:02 hrs IST: FOUR! Back of a length delivery from Naib and Williamson punches it in the gap between cover and point. New Zealand are 39/1 after 7 overs.
22:57 hrs IST: FOUR! Short of length from Hassan, Williamson looks to cut but gets an inside edge and it races to the fine leg boundary. New Zealand are 34/1 after 6 overs.
22:52 hrs IST: Eight off the last 12 deliveries. New Zealand are 28/1 after 5 overs. Munro 19*, Williamson 6*
22:44 hrs IST: FOUR! Full delivery from Alam and Munro hits it past the fielder at mid-off for a boundary. New Zealand are 20/1 after 3 overs.
22:40 hrs IST: Good start from Hassan, just three off his first six balls. New Zealand are 14/1 after 2 overs.
BREAKING - Rashid Khan has failed his first concussion assessment. He may not be able to take any further part in the match.
22:34 hrs IST: Consecutive boundaries from Munro. New Zealand are 11/1 after the first over. Hamid Hassan comes into the attack.
22:31 hrs IST: OUT! Guptill gone first ball. Great start from Afghanistan. Gets an inside edge onto thigh pad and it flies to Najibullah at backward point. Kane Williamson comes to the crease.
22:28 hrs IST: Time for New Zealand's chase. Aftab Alam to bowl the first over. Martin Guptill to take strike.
22:03 hrs IST: OUT! That's it. Afghanistan have been kept to 172. Four wickets for Ferguson. Shahidi the last man to fall for 59. We'll be back in a few minutes time.
21:54 hrs IST: Single off the last ball for Shahidi. Moves to 58. Afghanistan are 171/9 after 40 overs.
21:45 hrs IST: Ten runs off the last two overs. Afghanistan are 163/9 after 38 overs.
21:38 hrs IST: OUT! And Ferguson takes his third. Alam departs. Fifth catch of the day for Latham. Hamid Hassan, the new batsman, gets off the mark with a boundary. Afghanistan are 153/9 after 36 overs.
21:31 hrs IST: Just four runs off Boult's seventh. Afghanistan are 139/8 after 35 overs.
21:25 hrs IST: OUT! Rashid gets hit on the helmet. The Afghan No. 9 came forward to defend but it bounces into his helmet and goes onto the stumps. Second wicket for Ferguson. Aftab Alam comes to the crease. Afghanistan are 135/8 after 34 overs.
21:18 hrs IST: OUT! Now De Grandhomme joins the party, scalps Alikhil, who managed just two off 22 deliveries. Rashid Khan comes to the crease. Afghanistan are 130/7 after 33 overs.
21:11 hrs IST: Stupendous over from Henry, just two off it. Afghanistan are 129/6 after 31 overs. Taylor drops one at slip. Henry has been unlucky today.
21:06 hrs IST: Neesham ends with figures of 5/31. Has been a great day for him. Hopefully, he'll not be required with the bat. Afghanistan are 127/6 after 30 overs.
20:59 hrs IST: Just six runs off the last 12 deliveries. Afghanistan are 121/6 after 28 overs.
20:51 hrs IST: Splendid over from Neesham, only one run off it. Afghanistan are 115/6 after 26 overs. Shahidi 25*, Alikhil 0*
20:48 hrs IST: Another good over from Boult, five off it. Afghanistan are 114/6 after 25 overs.
20:44 hrs IST: DOUBLE-STRIKE! Neesham gets his fourth. He had Mohammad Nabi (9 off 24) caught behind. Najibullah Zadran is the new man. And another wicket. Najibullah Zadran is the new man caught behind. Afghanistan are 109/6 after 24 overs.
Earlier, Trent Boult completed his fifth over. Only a single off it.
20:27 hrs IST: Good news. Play to resume at 8:35 PM IST in Taunton. No overs lost. Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem has reached the French Open final with a win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Read full report here
20:20 hrs IST: It's cleared up. We aren't far away from a resumption.
20:08 hrs IST: And once again, rain halts play. This is frustrating, both for the players and fans. It does lok pretty dark. We'll keep you posted.
20:06 hrs IST: FOUR! Leg-byes. Latham dives full length but can't stopt it. Nine runs off Neesham's sixth. Afghanistan are 99/4 after 22 overs.
20:02 hrs IST: Single off the last delivery for Nabi. De Grandhomme finishes his third over, six off it. Afghanistan are 90/4 after 21 overs. Neesham to continue.
19:50 hrs IST: Play to resume at 20:00 IST. No overs lost.
19:43 hrs IST: Covers being removed. We should resume soon. Meanwhile, Bangladesh have lost Soumya Sarkar early in their pursuit of 387. Roy top-scored for England with 153.
19:40 hrs IST: More covers being brought on. Stay tuned for live updates!
19:35 hrs IST: And rain stops play. The covers are being brought on. Only the pitch is covered for now.
19:33 hrs IST: Good over from Neesham, five off it. Afghanistan are 84/4 after 20 overs.
19:28 hrs IST: Seven runs off De Grandhomme's second. Afghanistan are 79/4 after 19 overs. Shahidi 6*, Nabi 3*
19:24 hrs IST: Another maiden, this time from Neesham. Afghanistan are 72/4 after 18 overs. De Grandhomme again.
19:20 hrs IST: Tidy over from De Grandhomme, only one run off it. Afghanistan are 72/4 after 17 overs. Shahidi 1*, Nabi 1*. Neesham is back into the attack.
19:16 hrs IST: Three maidens in a row from Ferguson. This is superb bowling from the New Zealander. No margin of error. Afghanistan are 71/4 after 16 overs. Colin e Grandhomme comes into the attack.
19:11 hrs IST: Impressive over from Neesham, a wicket and just a run off it. Afghanistan are 71/4 after 15 overs.
19:07 hrs IST: OUT! Touch short from Neesham, outside off, Naib goes for the cut shot but gets a faint edge and Latham collect it. The Afghanistan captain reviews it but UltraEdge shows a spike as it passes the bat. Mohammad Nabi comes to the crease. Time for drinks!
19:04 hrs IST: Back-to-back maiden overs from Ferguson.He's making the ball talk like anything! Afghanistan are 70/3 after 14 overs. They need a big patnership here.
18:59 hrs IST: OUT! From 66/0, Afghanistan have slumped to 66/3. Another scalp for Neesham, removes Rahmat for a duck. Gulbadin Naib comes to the crease. Afghanistan are 70/3 after 13 overs.
18:54 hrs IST: A wicket-maiden for Ferguson. Afghanistan are 66/2 after 12 overs. Neesham to continue.
18:51 hrs IST: OUT! Extra pace and bounce does the trick. Two wickets in three balls. Ferguson gets Noor. Tom Latham completes a neat catch behind the stumps. Hashmatullah Shahidi comes to the crease.
18:47 hrs IST: OUT! Full and wide from Neesham, Zazai looks to hit it over sweeper cover but doesn't get the timing and Colin Munro does the rest. Rahmat Shah comes to the crease. Afghanistan are 66/1 after 11 overs.
18:41 hrs IST: Ferguson struggling to find the correct length. Gives away two boundaries. Afghanistan are 61/0 after 10 overs. Zazai 34*, Noor 26*. Another change. Jimmy Neesham comes into the attack.
18:37 hrs IST: SIX! Back of a length delivery from Henry and Zazai hammers it over deep square leg boundary for a maximum. Another costly over from the New Zealander, 12 runs off it. Afghanistan are 51/0 after 9 overs. First change in bowling. Lockie Ferguson comes into the attack.
18:32 hrs IST: Boult continues to keep things tight. Thirteen off his first 24 balls. Afghanistan are 39/0 after 8 overs.
18:28 hrs IST: FOUR! Too straight from Henry and Noor flicks it through mid-wicket. Afghanistan are 37/0 after 7 overs. Noor 19*, Zazai 18*
18:24 hrs IST: FOUR! Low full-toss from Boult and Noor times it to the right of the fielder at mid-off. Afghanistan are 33/0 after 6 overs. Henry again. New Zealand need a wicket here.
18:20 hrs IST: FOUR! Overpitched from Henry and Noor drives it straight past the bowler. Colin de Grandhomme makes a mess of a chance at deep mid-wicket. Zazai should have been back in the pavilion. Was a tough one but you need to take those. Afghanistan are 27/0 after 5 overs.
18:15 hrs IST: Another magnificent over from Boult, just one off it. Afghanistan are 19/0 after 4 overs.
18:11 hrs IST: Better over from Henry, only two runs off it. Afghanistan are 18/0 after 3 overs. Zazai 14, Noor 4*
18:07 hrs IST: Solid start from Boult. Tests both openers. Afghanistan are 16/0 after 2 overs. Henry to continue.
18:03 hrs IST: Three boundaries in a row for Zazai. First one - short delivery and helped to fine leg. Second - Outside edge that flew over the fielder at first slip. Third - Back of a length delivery and he smacked it past mid-wicket. Afghanistan are 12/0 after the first over. Trent Boult comes into the attack.
18:00 hrs IST: Time for live action. Hazratullah Zazai to take strike. Matt Henry, who has been in splendid form, to begin the proceedings.
17:38 hrs IST: Playing XIs -
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(c), Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Alikhil(w), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(w), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
17:33 hrs IST: New Zealand have won the toss and have opted to field.
17:00 hrs IST: Toss in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Jason Roy's century has put hosts England on course for a big score against Bangladesh at Cardiff. Jonny Bairstow, Roy's opening partner, hit a half-century before falling to Mashrafe Mortaza.
16:59 hrs IST: Martin Guptill needs 93 runs to become the second New Zealand batsman and 19th overall to complete 1000 runs in 50-over World Cup.
16:45 hrs IST: HERE'S WHAT THEY SAID BEFORE THE GAME -
New Zealand pacer Mark Henry: "We have a new challenge coming up against Afghanistan in different conditions. We'll have to adapt and bring our 'A game' to put our best foot forward to get another win."
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We can take a lot of [positive] things from the last game with Sri Lanka. One time it looked like we were in the game. Me and Najibullah [Zadran] batted really well. We hope we carry on our momentum in the upcoming matches."
16:26 hrs IST: New Zealand won the only previous ODI between the two nations by six wickets at the 2015 World Cup.
16:16 hrs IST: STAT ATTACK - Kane Williamson has scored 747 runs in his last 10 ODI knocks in England and Wales.
16:07 hrs IST: BIG NUMBER - New Zealand have won 10 of their last 11 World Cup matches - their only defeat during that span coming in the final against Australia four years ago.
15:58 hrs IST: Hello and welcome to Outlook's live coverage of the 2019 World Cup encounter between Afghanistan and New Zealand.
Afghanistan's spinners will be hoping to cause New Zealand a few problems and get their team on board the points table. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan will lead the charge with Mohammed Nabi, who returned figures of 4/30 with his off-spin against Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan have suffered a big blow with Mohammad Shahzad being ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury. Wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil has been named as his replacement.
New Zealand were sent into a spin by Bangladesh last time out but coach Gary Stead isn’t concerned about how his side will cope with another slow-bowling onslaught from Afghanistan.
Every member of the Black Caps’ top six perished to a spinner against Bangladesh, as what looked like a relatively sedate chase of 244 turned into a late-night thriller at the Oval, before Stead’s men eventually edged to a two-wicket victory.
New Zealand faced 27 overs of spin in that game and can expect a similar amount from Afghanistan in Taunton – with the Asian side boasting the likes of right-arm off spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, as well as ‘mystery’ leggie Rashid Khan, in their bowling attack.
But Stead isn’t worried about any sort of Achilles heel having been exposed as his team aim to make it three wins from three in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
“Afghanistan are definitely a force and spin is one of their strength areas,” admitted Stead.
“But it’s not worth putting too much focus on our top six all getting out to spinners because almost 30 overs of the 47 were spin anyway."
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