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03 December 2023

Veteran Vettori sets up crushing New Zealand win

New Zealand bowler Daniel Vettori celebrates dismissing Afghanistan's batsman Afsar Zazai for a Leg Before Wicket during the Pool A 2015 Cricket World Cup cricket match between New Zealand and Afghanistan at McLean Park in Napier on March 8, 2015. (AFP)


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.

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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 was never going to be 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.

They won the toss, elected to bat, and then had few answers to the menacing attack that greeted them.

Trent Boult dismissed Javed Ahmadi in the second over, Vettori removed Usman Ghani at the start of the third and by the time the 20th over was completed they were 59 for six.

Nawroz Mangal was bowled for 27 to become Vettori's milestone dismissal and four overs later Mohammad Nabi and Afsar Zazai went in successive balls to give the spinner have four wickets for five runs.

Najibullah Zadran avoided the hat-trick as he joined Samiullah Shenwari to rescue the innings with an Afghanistan record seventh-wicket partnership of 86.

The 22-year-old Najibullah reached 56, the second-highest score of his fledgling 15-match career, before he was caught on the boundary by man-of-the-moment Vettori at third man.

Afghanistan's leading batsmen at the World Cup, Shenwari added 54 and was on track to get his side past 200 until he played a rash shot and was caught by Taylor off Anderson.

For New Zealand, Trent Boult joined Vettori in the impressive bowling stakes with three for 34 off his 10 overs.

Although competition debutants Afghanistan were heavily outclassed they can take credit in knowing they pushed the tournament co-hosts closest to the 50-over limit.

Their innings lasted nine balls longer than Sri Lanka and more than 70 deliveries longer than Scotland, England and Australia.