Following their impressive triumph over England, Afghanistan is set to take on the undefeated New Zealand in their next Cricket World Cup encounter.
Match 16: Afghanistan Opts to Field After Winning Toss
Hashmatullah Shahidi, the Afghanistan captain, decided to field first after winning the toss. The team lineup remained unchanged from their previous match against England in Delhi.
New Zealand brought in Will Young to replace the injured captain, Kane Williamson. Tom Latham resumed his role as captain in Williamson’s absence, while Tim Southee remained absent from the playing XI.
Afghanistan’s Spin Dominance
In their 69-run victory over England, Afghanistan’s spinners played a pivotal role. Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman collectively took eight wickets, leading to Afghanistan’s second-ever win in a Cricket World Cup.
Afghanistan will be looking for another strong start from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, while Hashmat Shahidi has proven his ability to contribute valuable runs in the middle order.
New Zealand’s Formidable Top-Order
New Zealand, aware of the threat posed by Afghanistan’s spinners, will rely on their in-form top-order, which has already dominated Bangladesh and England, resulting in two emphatic victories.
Devon Conway, with the second-highest run total (248) and the highest individual score (152*) in the tournament, along with young talent Rachin Ravindra, who also has a century to his name, are key players for New Zealand.
Balanced Bowling Line-Up of New Zealand
New Zealand boasts one of the most balanced bowling line-ups in the tournament, with Matt Henry and Mitch Santner leading the wicket-takers chart with eight wickets each.
Lockie Ferguson, known for his ability to dismantle top orders, along with experienced fast bowler Trent Boult, will be a crucial match-up against Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran.
New Zealand will need to find a replacement for the unfortunate Williamson, who fractured his thumb in his comeback match against Bangladesh after recovering from a torn ACL.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Tom Latham (c, wk), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Mark Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult