ICC Cricket World Cup 31st Match: Vettori and Guptill help New Zealand cruise past Afghanistan

Vettori finished with figures of 4-18 off 10 overs

Vettori finished with figures of 4-18 off 10 overs

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

New Zealand left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori took four wickets and opener Martin Guptill scored 57 as New Zealand breezed past Afghanistan by six wickets in Napier.

However, Afghanistan’s batting duo of Najibullah Zadran and Samiullah Shenwari deserve some credit for making 56 and 54 respectively.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi would have been regretting his decision to bat first since everyone, with the exception of Zadran and Shenwari, were dismissed cheaply.

In fact, barring Zadran and Shenwari, the highest score was made by batsman Nawroz Mangal, who scored 27.

That being said, Afghanistan would have been thanking their lucky stars that ZadranĀ and Shenwari both made half-centuries since it helped them reach 186 before they were bowled out.

Zadran made a gutsy 56

Zadran made a gutsy 56

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Zadran’s knock of 56 came off 56 balls and included eight boundaries and two sixes, while Shenwari’s innings of 54 came off 110 deliveries and included five boundaries and a six.

Shenwari scored a valiant 54

Shenwari scored a valiant 54

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Vettori was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Trent Boult snapped up three, Corey Anderson got two and Adam Milne chipped in with one.

Chasing 187 to win, New Zealand got off to a good start as Guptill and captain Brendon McCullum amassed a 53-run partnership before McCullum was clean bowled by Nabi for 42.

Guptill and Kane Williamson built on New Zealand’s strong start with a 58-run partnership before Williamson was caught by Shenwari at midwicket off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran for 33.

Guptill ended up making 57 off 76 balls, which included seven boundaries, before he was run out by Mangal.

Guptill hit seven boundaries during his knock of 57

Guptill hit seven boundaries during his knock of 57

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Grant Elliott mustered 19 runs before he was run out by Nabi.

Despite the late flurry of wickets, New Zealand reached their target with 83 balls to spare.

Shapoor Zadran and Nabi claimed one wicket each.

Nabi was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Good toss to win but we needed to score 280. The way New Zealand bowled, especially Vettori, they bowled very well. The top five batsmen, entire tournament, haven’t done well. Hopefully we’ll try in the next game. Shenwari has played well in the whole tournament, and a good start for Najibullah. We tried our best to take the match as long as possible.”

McCullum was pleased to have won, and said: “The way we bowled early on, 60 for 6, credit to Afghanistan for posting a total that was a little bit tricky for us. We got the ends wrong, and obviously it’s great when you have a guy like Dan who can jump in and get a wicket and help the guys switch ends. Fielding could go up a gear, but I thought overall a good performance. We can improve, but overall not a bad chase, not a bad win for us. Special cricketer, what he’s achieved in all three forms of the game for close to two decades. It’s great to have him back, he’s a very special member of our team and will continue to be so over the next few games. Wouldn’t swap Boult and Southee for anyone [Twitter question – would you swap them for Wasim Akram/Aquib Javed who won the 92 World Cup].”

Vettori was named Man of the Match, and said: “[The pitch was] probably a touch slower today, and once we got a good start from the fast bowlers I could back it up. A little bit more worn than usual, usually it’s more pristine. Pretty used to bowling early on, you play so much T20 cricket, and sometimes the newer ball skids on. It’s a lot of fun, playing the World Cup at home, an experience none of us will forget. So far so good.”

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