Three fifties, dropped catches help NZ post 288/6 against AFG

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New Zealand posted 288/6 with the help of three batsmen getting fifties, with Glenn Phillips leading the pack with 71 runs off 80 balls, and poor fielding by Afghanistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.

The target could have been lesser had Afghanistan held on to the chances coming their way. They dropped at least 4 catches and a stumping by Ikram Alikhil, despite Afghan spinners unleashed tight balls.

Will Young (54) fetched his fifty after getting a chance early on, while Rachin Ravindra found his touch hard to come by, and just then Azmatullah Omarzai came up with a magical spell, sending back Young and Rachin (32) who were going strong with a partnership of 79 for second wicket.

Rashid Khan then priced out Daryl Mitchell (1) early. Unfortunately he ended up with just one wicket whereas he could have grabbed four. The dropped catches helped Tom Latham build a 144 runs partnership with Phillips for the fifth wicket.

Later on, Naveen-ul-Haq claimed their wickets in an over with cleaning up Latham who made 68 off 74 balls with three boundaries and 2 sixes. But, Mark Chapman’s late cameo (25*) helped New Zealand to set a 289 runs target for Afghanistan.

Earlier, New Zealand were off to a nice start with a bit of luck in their favour as Rahmat Shah dropped Will Young in the slips off Fazalhaq Farooqi. This forced the NZ opener to play cautiously, while Devon Conway took off as usual at the other end.

Conway was adjudged legbefore off Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the 7th over for 20 as Afghanistan unleashed tidy balls, keeping NZ scoring rate under check till the end of first Powerplay.

Young and Rachin Ravindra stepped up the run rate, and added 66 runs in next 10 overs, belting 26 runs off Mohammad Nabi’s three overs.

New Zealand’s runflow was stymied by a brilliant brace by Azmatullah Omarzai. First he cleaned up Rachin who attempted an across-the-line shot. Young fell on the very next ball after Afghanistan keeper Iram Alikhil dived to his left to grab a low-gliding catch off an inside edge.

Barely did the Kiwis recover, they lost the most fiery batsman Daryl Mitchell off star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan. He had the aggressive batsman pull one straight to midwicket in the hands of Ibrahim Zadran and brought Afghanistan into the game.

Brief scores: New Zealand 288/6 in 50 overs (Glenn Phillips 71, Tom Latham 68; Naveen-ul-Haq 2-48) vs Afghanistan

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