Afghanistan were looking forward to bringing one more upset into reality but fell short against New Zealand's strong bowling attack. Afghanistan won the toss and chose to field first. The bowlers did a fantastic job in taking crucial wickets in the beginning stage.
However, dropped catches played a strong role in snatching a win away from Afghanistan. In the first innings, Afghanistan dropped around 4-5 catches. New Zealand could have been restricted under 250 runs, but due to fielding inefficiency, New Zealand scored a fighting total of 288 runs (288-6), setting a target of 289 runs for Afghanistan.
Watch the entire match highlights on the official ICC World Cup website: https://www.cricketworldcup.com/video/3741449
It was a target that could be chased by Afghanistan, but the batting unit seemed to be under extreme pressure from the very first ball.
That pressure led to an early collapse; NZ took wicket after wicket and bowled out Afghanistan at 139 runs in 34.4 overs. Thus, they secured a 149 runs win. Afghanistan has the potential to beat high-level teams, but a few unnecessary mistakes always drag them away from the jaws of victory.
Post match interviews
Tom Latham (New Zealand’s Captain)
“A pleasing start,” Latham said, as quoted by cricbuzz.com. “Another great performance. We were put under pressure some times. The bowlers managed to take wickets when it was needed.
We had lost three wickets in a short span of time. We thought of regrouping. They bowled fantastically well. We managed to capitalize. Glenn played a fantastic knock. The first 10 overs were superb. Mitch Santner coming in and doing his job.
Pleasing all-round performance. I guess on the back of some good performances, it is pleasing. We have India and then Australia. Hopefully, the momentum will continue”.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Afghanistan’s Captain)
“At this level, you have to take those catches,” Shahidi said, as quoted by cricbuzz.com.
“The fielding was poor. We were a bit down because of that. Last six overs, a lot of runs scored by the NZ team. Before the 40th over, we dropped a couple of catches. We couldn't stop the set batters. We tried but failed. The toss I can say, you can't judge 100 percent when it comes to the pitch.
The pitch was slow. We bowled well but the fielding was a concern for us. It will hurt us. We have more games to come. We will talk where we can improve and come back stronger in the next game”.