IMAGES from the match played between New Zealand and Afghanistan on Saturday
New Zealand put on an impressive all-round performance to tame Afghanistan by seven wickets in rainy Taunton on Saturday.
All-rounder James Neesham (5 for 31) and Lockie Ferguson (4 for 37) took nine wickets between them as New Zealand won their third straight match of the mega-event.
Neesham picked with his maiden five-wicket haul after Afghanistan got off to a solid start before the New Zealand bowling pair wreaked havoc and bundled them out for 172 in 41.1 overs.
Chasing the modest total, the Black Caps got off to the worst possible start when Aftab Alam had Martin Guptill caught off a thin inside edge with the first ball of the innings. It was the Kiwi opener’s 14th duck.
Afghanistan took the field without leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who was hit on the head when he was dismissed by Lockie Ferguson's bouncer in the first innings. He looked dazed as he walked off the field and later failed his first concussion test, ruling him out for the rest of the match, AFP reported.
>But Aftab led the Afghan attack and removed Colin Munro to leave New Zealand on 41-2.
Williamson then survived two reviews – one of a caught behind appeal and one of a run-out -- even as Afghanistan kept the pressure on.
With Ross Taylor for company, Williamson steadied the ship as the duo stitched up an 89-run partnership for the third wicket before the captain saw the team through.
New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul as he ripped through the Afghanistan batting line-up to bowl them out for a paltry 172 in their World Cup match in Taunton on Saturday.
Neesham, a batting all-rounder, rocked the Afghanistan innings by his incisive bowling and in the process returned with his career-best figures of 5/31 from his 10 overs. His earlier best was 4/42.
Neesham's pace colleague Lockie Ferguson claimed four wickets for 37 runs to throttle the Afghanistan innings.
Sent into bat, Afghanistan made a decent start with openers Hazratullah Zazai (34) and Noor Ali Zadran (31) putting on 66 runs between them. Hazratullah hit three fours in the first over bowled by Matthew Henry to show his intent.
But New Zealand hit back when Neesham induced a mistimed slog from Hazratullah, with Colin Munro taking the catch on the boundary to end the opener's innings of 34 from 28 balls in the 11th over.
Afghanistan wickets then began to fall in a heap once the openers were separated and their batsmen failed to rotate strikes.
Hashmatullah Shahidi, who top-scored with a 59 off 99 balls, played a lone hand as he did not get any support from his team-mates down the order. He hung around as long as possible to add runs to the team total. He was the last man out as Afghanistan folded their innings in 41.1 overs.
Seven Afghan batsmen scored in single digits.
Neesham had his second wicket in the form of one-down Rahmat Shah (0) in the 13th over and then dismissed captain Gulbadin Naib (4) before returning to grab two more wickets -- Mohammad Nabi (9) and Najibullah Zadran (4) -- in the 24th over to complete his fiver.