It is top versus bottom in the ICC World Cup 2019 as New Zealand take on Afghanistan. This match #13 of the World Cup will be played in Taunton. The day-nighter will be crucial for both sides and could decide their knockout fortunes.
New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by ten wickets and Bangladesh by two wickets. On the other hand, Afghanistan lost to Australia by seven wickets and Sri Lanka by 34 runs in a rain-affected match. Adding more intrigue to the match is the venue in Taunton, which hosts its first match after 1999.
Afghanistan were good in patches through the tournament so far. While their batting impressed against Australia, bowlers were very good against Sri Lanka. The spinners showed that they are a handful to any batsmen and that could work to their advantage.
The Asian nation however lost senior Mohammad Shahzad to injury. They also have selection issues with Asghar Afghan yet to pick up full fitness. They might be tempted to play an additional seamer to take advantage of the conditions.
New Zealand Preview
The Kiwis were exceptional against Sri Lanka, leading in all departments. Against Bangladesh, though, they had a big scare. A late collapse against the spinners almost gave them huge trouble. Regardless, another win will now give them one foot into the semis.
The Kiwis need their all-rounders to be a bit more responsible. With a strong seam attack at his disposal, captain Kane Williamson will be happy to attack Bangladesh. Depending on the conditions, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi could come into the side.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Mohammad Nabi has been sensational with the ball for Afghanistan this tournament (four wickets, ER 4.13). He could fancy his chances against a spin-weary Kiwis.
Ross Taylor has been in cracking form for New Zealand since the last World Cup. His runs will be vital if the Kiwis don’t want any hiccups.
Matt Henry is bowling really well this tournament and has seven wickets at an ER of 4.65. His pace could trouble the Afghans all over.
Shahzad’s absence gives a chance to Alikhil.
Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai 2 Rahmat Shah 3 Hashmatullah Shahidi 4 Najibullah Zadran 5 Mohammad Nabi 6 Gulbadin Naib (C) 7 Ikram Alikhil (WK) 8 Rashid Khan 9 Aftab Alam 10 Hamid Hassan 11 Dawlat Zadran
New Zealand could look to bring in Ish Sodhi.
New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill 2 Colin Munro 3 Kane Williamson (C) 4 Ross Taylor 5 Tom Latham (WK) 6 James Neesham 7 Mitchell Santner 8 Matt Henry 9 Lockie Ferguson 10 Ish Sodhi 11 Trent Boult
Join Dream11 today and compete in real money fantasy cricket contests for the ICC World Cup 2019! Click the banner below for more details!