Afghanistan was defeated against New Zealand in a game which they should have won. Dropping as many as five catches at crucial junctures and failing to read the nature of the track became detrimental for the Afghans. Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said that they had just themselves to blame after his team’s humiliating 149-run defeat against New Zealand on Wednesday. After batting first New Zealand scored 288/6 in 50 overs. Glenn Phillips (71) and Tom Latham (68) top-scored for the Kiwis after being dropped early on. Afghanistan conceded 78 runs in the last six overs and it was the turning point on a track that offered a lot of turn. Moreover, the poor fielding from the Afghans added to the pile of misery.
The target could have been easily 30-40 runs less had Afghanistan been a bit more efficient in the field. Their bowlers did their job, starting with Mujeeb who got the ‘homeboy’ Conway out fairly early. Will Young soldiered on for a while to get a fifty. However, Rachin Ravindra looked a bit sketchy in his knock as New Zealand found scoring tough. Then came a brilliant spell from Omarzai as he sent back both set batters, while Rashid priced out Daryl Mitchell early. The Afghan spinners were disciplined with their bowling, but the fielders let them down as they set Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham to consolidate a partnership. With Chapman’s free-flowing spree at the death, it already tilted the game towards the Kiwis. Subsequently, the fearsome bowling cemented the game for the Kiwis. Consequently, the Afghans bundled out with a paltry 139 in 34.4 overs.
What was Hashmatullah Shahidi’s analysis of the game?
Afghanistan’s captain must be very disappointed with his team’s performance on the field. “Very disappointed because at this level you have to take those kinds of catches. End of the day those catches hurt us as otherwise the team was doing well but the fielding let us a little bit down,” Shahidi was straight-forward in his assessment. Not only that, the toss was also a big factor for the team. Opting to field after winning the toss became the X factor for the Afghans.
Speaking about the toss, Shahidi said “The toss I can say…We couldn’t judge the pitch properly. I think in the first innings, the ball was spinning (turning) and was a bit slow. We bowled well but our fielding wasn’t good.” Afghanistan camp might be in agony however, for captain Tom Latham it was a remarkable effort. Latham feels that his side is well on course as of now. “Tonight’s game will hurt us but we still have more games to come. Next match is against Pakistan. We will go back and discuss where we can improve and will try to come back stronger.”
“I guess on the back of some good performances, we are stepping in the right way. We have a week or so (4 days) and then we will play India (October 22) and then Australia (October 28), we are hoping to continue the momentum,” stand-in skipper Latham said. Tom was happy about his partnership with Glenn Phillips which steered the ship for New Zealand. Commenting on the dropped chances Latham said, “There were a few chances here and there I guess. We tried to capitalise on those chances. Glenn played a fantastic inning and took the pressure off me. The guys set the tone at the top in the first 10 overs and kept chipping in.” Moreover, Phillips praised Chapman and Santner who gave the final push making 34 runs in the final 2.5 overs. New Zealand’s next task will be to face home favourites India.
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