About the Match
The hosts are placed on top of the table with 8 points from 4 straight wins and will go up against Afghanistan, who have just 2 points till now, on 8th March at the McLean Park Stadium, Napier. New Zealand are on a tremendous run and have defeated Australia in a close encounter recently; they have made it all the way up to the top and will be eager to dominate Afghanistan from the very first ball.
It was a close and thrilling contest but New Zealand emerged victorious as they beat Australia by 1 wicket chasing down 152 in 23. 1 overs; McCullum blasted 50 off 24, Kane Williamson hit a 45 off 42 and Corey Anderson scored 26 off 42 to take New Zealand to the brink of victory but it was Williamson’s cool headed approach that took them across the finish line. On the bowling front, Trent Boult was stupendous as he scalped 5-27; Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori picked up 2 wickets each while Corey Anderson took 1 wicket to set the ball in motion against the hard-hitting Aussies. This victory has certainly boosted their confidence to a new level. Their match against England was also excellently executed with Tim Southee being exceptional with 7- 33 and captain McCullum scoring 77 off 25, both contributions helping them thrash England by 8 wickets. Overall, the team has explosive top-order batsmen like McCullum and Williamson, who have been the two most consistent batsmen in ODI cricket; while Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor are not in good form, they surely are known to bouce back and with Luke Ronchi and Corey Anderson having the ability to shoulder the responsibilities, this batting line-up is solid. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are arguably the best pair with the new ball at the moment; add to that the pace of Adam Milne and experience of Daniel Vettori, this team continues to give opponents a nightmare on the field.
Afghanistan were thrashed by Australia with a huge margin of 275 runs, failing to reach the humungous target of 418; except for Nawroz Mangal, who scored 33 off 35, the others failed to withstand the pressure. They are proud of their first world cup win that came against Scotland, as they should be. Having opted to field first, the bowlers did well to restrict Scotland to 210; Shenwari then blasted 96, helping the team win easily. They haven’t stopped fighting with confidence and we are sure to see a good performance against New Zealand. However Afghanistan needs more than the talent of players like Stanikzai, Nawroz Mangal, Shenwari and Mirwais Ashraf to face the Kiwi attack and score runs. They are blessed with a good bowling attack with Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran capable of handing out destructive spells of fast bowling but they must strategize well and execute to perfection if they want to win on Sunday.
New Zealand is undoubtedly the best team around in group A at the moment and are clear favourites; although Afghanistan’s approach would be to exploit the pace and bounce on offer at the McLean Park, the Kiwis are a formidable force to reckon with, who will win the upcoming match too.
New Zealand, 1.015 @ Bet365