MATCH 31: After Afghanistan was bowled out for 186 thanks to four wickets from Daniel Vettori, New Zealand were seen home by Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill in a win by six-wickets.
Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan skipper, won the toss and decided to bat only to see his side lose two early wickets.
Javed Ahmed was lbw to Trent Boult and Vettori claimed a wicket with his spin off the 13th ball of the day.
Entrusting Vettori (main photo, he took 4 for 18) with the third over was the latest example of Brendon McCullum’s inventive captaincy and with his very first ball, Vettori produced a deliciously flighted delivery that advanced through the inviting gap between Usman Ghani’s bat and pad, who played for turn that was lacking.
Vettori became only the 12th bowler ever, to reach 300 ODI wickets when Nawroz Mangal was bowled . When Nabi and Afsar Zazai then fell in successive balls, Vettori was on a hat-trick, and Afghanistan was 59 for 6.
Afghanistan did well to fight for as long as they did as Samiullah Shenwari held things together. He belted Corey Anderson over midwicket for a huge six on his way to 54 from 110 balls.
With Najibullah Zadran, he added 86 runs for the seventh wicket before Najibullah was caught at third man when uppercutting at Adam Milne.
Afghanistan could possibly have been more ambitious, but will comfort themselves that they are finding their feet on the biggest of stages.
McCullum got the New Zealander’s reply up and running with his usual zest, his 42 from only 19 balls sending his side on their way to a more than comfortable target.
He bottom edged a pull to Nabi, Nabi ran out Grant Elliott with a direct hit, but Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were never taken out of their comfort zone.
Afghanistan have one chance left to beat a full member side as England in Sydney await.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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