Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - Page 10 News List

New Zealand demolish Afghanistan in Cup

Reuters, TAUNTON, England

Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi plays a shot during their Cricket World Cup group stage match against New Zealand in Taunton, England, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

New Zealand cemented their spot at the top of the cricket World Cup league table with a seven-wicket victory over minnows Afghanistan thanks to an unbeaten half-century by Kane Williamson and fine bowling by their seam attack led by Jimmy Neesham.

New Zealand never looked to be in any serious trouble chasing a paltry 173 for victory at Taunton, as Williamson and Ross Taylor shared a century partnership for the third wicket before getting home with more than 17 overs to spare.

It was New Zealand’s third consecutive victory and puts them in pole position for the semi-finals, while Afghanistan have recorded three straight losses.

“The team have put together some strong performances, but it is important that you just move on and look forward to the next challenge,” Williamson told a news conference.

Williamson had the top score with an unbeaten 79, after surviving a missed run-out chance on 22. He hit nine boundaries in his 99-ball innings.

Neesham and Lockie Ferguson (4-37) then grabbed four wickets for four runs to reduce Afghanistan to 70-4.

They never recovered and lost wickets steadily before being bowled out for 172, with nearly ten overs to spare.

“We did some bad shots, so we didn’t play 50 overs. We just missed some overs,” Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib told reporters.

Neesham, a 28-year-old all-rounder, almost quit the game last year after a loss of form, but was then recalled for the World Cup.

Afghanistan next travel to Cardiff to play South Africa on Saturday, while New Zealand play India at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

ENGLAND VS BANGLADESH

Reuters, CARDIFF

Only a superlative bowling performance on Saturday could have contained England’s explosive batting lineup and Bangladesh could not conjure one up in their World Cup match in Cardiff, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan said.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza was left to rue his decision to field, as England posted their highest World Cup total of 386-6 built around Jason Roy’s blistering 153 off 121 balls.

The hosts, who had lost their past two World Cup matches against Bangladesh, then bowled out Bangladesh for 280, with Shakib alone offering significant resistance with a defiant 121.

“Yes, disappointed with the result, or the manner we actually bowled,” said the all-rounder, who conceded 71 runs without a wicket in his 10 overs of left-arm spin. “I thought we bowled really, really well against South Africa and against New Zealand. We were expecting better in this match.”

For England, Jonny Bairstow (51) and Jos Buttler (64) also made breezy half-centuries.

“England played brilliantly. The way their openers started and the way Buttler finished the innings was the turning point of the match,” Shakib said after his team’s second defeat in three matches.

The 32-year-old said the only way that Bangladesh could control England’s relentless onslaught was by getting regular wickets, but that did not materialize.

“That’s been their pattern for the past two to three years,” he said of England’s free-flowing batting. “They are not changing in this World Cup the way their approach was going for the past two to three years, so we knew that it’s always going to be tough for us. We knew that we had to take wickets in regular intervals to keep the momentum down, which we couldn’t do today. I think that’s why we lost the match.”

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