Captain Tom Latham & Glenn Phillips Shine as New Zealand Sets a Target of 289 Runs
CHENNAI: New Zealand continued their impressive form in the Cricket World Cup, notching up their fourth consecutive win by defeating Afghanistan with a commanding margin of 149 runs. In a thrilling encounter at Chennai, New Zealand showcased their prowess with both bat and ball.
Opting to bat first, New Zealand's young batsman Glenn Phillips and captain Tom Latham orchestrated a century partnership that proved instrumental in setting a formidable target of 289 runs for Afghanistan. Phillips exhibited remarkable skills, scoring 71 runs in 80 balls, laced with four fours and an equal number of sixes, earning him the well-deserved title of 'Player of the Match.' Latham, too, displayed finesse with the bat, contributing 68 runs in 74 balls, inclusive of three fours and two sixes. Their partnership of 144 runs for the fifth wicket provided the impetus New Zealand needed to amass 103 runs in the final 10 overs. Prior to this, Will Young had made a significant contribution with his half-century, amassing 54 runs off 64 balls, featuring four fours and three sixes.
Afghanistan's bowlers, led by Azmat Omarzai and Naveen Ul Haq, kept the pressure on the Kiwi batsmen, restricting them during the middle overs. The 21st to 30th over saw a mere 29 runs added, with only four boundaries and a single six. The 31st to 40th over fared slightly better with 47 runs, and a total of four fours and one six, as Afghanistan tried to claw back into the game.
In response, Afghanistan's batting lineup found it challenging to gain momentum. The early dismissals of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who managed 11 runs, and Ibrahim Zadran, who contributed 14 runs, set a gloomy tone. Rahmat Shah was the top scorer for Afghanistan, chipping in with 36 runs.
New Zealand's bowlers shone as they hunted in packs. Mitchell Santner and Lockie Ferguson scalped three wickets each, while Matt Henry and Rachin Ravindra took one apiece. The experienced Trent Boult also chipped in with two crucial wickets. Afghanistan, who had previously pulled off an upset by defeating defending champions England, were unable to recreate their earlier magic, succumbing to New Zealand's relentless pressure.