Cricket World Cup: Blackcaps show class with huge victory over Afghanistan to keep perfect run alive

The Blackcaps have continued their perfect start to this year's Cricket World Cup in India, picking up their fourth straight victory with a 149-run win over Afghanistan at Chennai.

Losing the toss and asked to bat first, New Zealand accrued an impressive 288/6 from their 50 overs, before the bowlers restricted Afghanistan to 139 in reply.

A trio of half-centuries to Will Young, Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips led the way with the bat, before separate three-wicket hauls to Lockie Ferguson (3/19) and Mitchell Santner (3/39) bowled Afghanistan out with more than 15 overs to spare.  

The win sees the Blackcaps avoid becoming the latest side to lose to a smaller nation, after England and South Africa's defeats to Afghanistan and the Netherlands respectively.

Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips added 144 runs together.
Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips added 144 runs together. Photo credit: Photosport

Victory temporarily takes the Blackcaps top of the table, as the first team to notch four wins. Hosts India have the ability to match the Kiwis, when they face Bangladesh at Pune on Thursday night (NZ time), before a top-of-the-table encounter between the two sides.

Returning to the side in place of injured captain Kane Williamson, Young got the Blackcaps innings off to a strong start.

Forming partnerships of 30 with Devon Conway (20) and 79 with Rachin Ravindra (32), Young scored his second half-century of the tournament, raising his bat for 50 after 57 balls, but a middle-order wobble quickly saw New Zealand lose three wickets for one run, as Afghanistan struck through Rashid Khan (1/43) and Azmatullah Omarzai (2/56).

Tasked with rebuilding the innings, Latham and Phillips started slowly, adding a 50-run stand in 75 balls, but pushed the Blackcaps total towards a competitive one. At 185/4 at the start of the 40th over, Phillips and Latham triggered a late onslaught, as both reached half-centuries and a century partnership.

As the aggressor, Phillips was first past 50, taking 69 balls with four boundaries and two sixes, while Latham joined him not long after, his milestone arriving in 67 balls, with just two boundaries.

On 71, Phillips' knock came to an end, when he holed out to Rashid, off the bowling of Naveen-ul-Haq, while Latham fell two balls later, clean bowled for 68 by the same bowler, but the pair's job was done, after adding 144 runs together in 153 balls.

When Mark Chapman added an unbeaten 25 in just 12 deliveries, the Blackcaps had posted a more than competitive total.

In reply, Afghanistan's openers looked steady at 27/0, before New Zealand's newball pair struck. Matt Henry struck first, when he bowled Rahmanullah Gurbaz (11), before Trent Boult snared Ibrahim Zadran for 14 and completely put the brakes of Afghanistan's innings.

Lockie Ferguson struck next, courtesy of a spectacular diving catch from Mitchell Santner, to remove captain Hashmatullah Shahidi for eight, as Afghanistan wobbled from 27/0 to 43/3.

They looked to rebuild and reached the halfway stage without further loss at 94/3, but Boult's return saw the back of Azmatullah Omarzai for 27, when he was caught behind by Latham at 97/4.

Rahmat Shah pressed on, as wickets fell around him, reaching 36, but faling to a Rachin Ravindra caught-and-bowled as the New Zealand bowling targeted the lower order.

Faced with a skyrocketing required run rate, Mohammad Nabi tried to take the attack to Santner, but fell one ball after hitting a boundary to give the left-armer his 100th one-day wicket, bowled by a beauty.

Ferguson returned to the attack and removed Rashid Khan, who skied a catch to Daryl Mitchell at cover, and then had Mujeeb Ur Rahman three balls later, when he hooked to Young at fine leg.

Santner finished the job with his second and third wickets, removing Naveen, before finishing proceedings, when Fazalhaq Farooqi edged to Mitchell at first slip, completing another victory for New Zealand at this year's tournament. 

The Blackcaps return to action on October 22, taking on hosts India at Dharamshala in a top-of-the-table clash.

New Zealand 288/6 (Phillips 71, Latham 68, Young 54; Naveen 2/48) Afghanistan 139 (Rahmat 36; Ferguson 3/19, Santner 3/39)

New Zealand win by 149 runs

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