Vettori spins Kiwis to fifth straight win
Daniel Vettori became the first New Zealand bowler to take 300 one-day international wickets as the Black Caps made short work of Afghanistan to remain unbeaten after five World Cup matches on Sunday. Left-arm spinner Vettori scythed through the Afghanistan top order, using his guile on a pitch producing no turn, to finish with the remarkable figures of four for 18 in 10 overs as Afghanistan were dismissed for 186. Along the way he became the 12th player, and only the fifth spinner, to take 300 ODI wickets.
On a run-laden McLean Park pitch in Napier, New Zealand needed only 36.1 overs to overhaul Afghanistan’s total. New Zealand, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals, have yet to be taken the distance in the field and the 47.4 overs bowled to Afghanistan is the most they have sent down in any match in the tournament. But the result was never in doubt when Brendon McCullum, with his trademark aggressive approach, blazed away at the top of the New Zealand innings slamming 42 off 19 deliveries to get the chase off to a rollicking start.
When he was bowled by Mohammad Nabi, trying to belt his opposing captain out of the ground, New Zealand were already a quarter of the way to their target after fewer than six overs. The pace slowed from nine to 5.19 runs an over after McCullum’s dismissal as New Zealand coasted to victory with their middle-to-lower order not getting the lengthy time at the crease they wanted before the knockout phase.
Kane Williamson, in his understated manner, contributed 33, Martin Guptill reached 57, his highest score of the campaign, and Grant Elliott made 19. Guptill and Elliott were both needlessly run out when time and runs were not an issue, leaving Ross Taylor (24 not out) and Corey Anderson (seven not out) to see New Zealand home. It wasn’t easy for Afghanistan who were already jet-lagged having crossed the Tasman Sea twice in the week to meet their gruelling World Cup schedule ahead of this game.
BRIEFSCORES NZL 188/4 (Guptill 57, McCullum 42) beat AFG 186 (Najibullah 56, Vettori 4-18, Boult 3-34) by six wickets.