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Cricket World Cup: Unbeaten New Zealand demolish Afghanistan in excellent preparation for conflict with red-hot India

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Mitchell Santner didn’t mince phrases when speaking about New Zealand’s subsequent opponents, India. For all of the ‘nice boys’ tag that hangs round their necks, the Black Caps are recognized to be ruthless on the sphere, particularly at World Cups. They have a historical past of flying underneath the radar, largely unnoticed, however as they go away Chennai after making it 4 wins out of 4 with their 149-run victory over Afghanistan on Wednesday, New Zealand look each bit ready for India.

Despite getting previous Australia and Pakistan, India know New Zealand will likely be a tough nut to crack at Dharamsala, extra so if the situations are to the liking of the Black Caps. And Santner, who went prime of the wicket-takers chart along with his three-wicket haul in opposition to Afghanistan that took his tally at this World Cup to 11, mentioned that they don’t must go away from their recreation plan in opposition to the hosts.

“I think we have to do similar stuff to what we’re doing: chip away, build pressure, do our things, see what happens.”


This wasn’t Santner simply enjoying to the gallery or indulging in thoughts video games. This is what New Zealand have been doing within the 4 matches they’ve performed, the place they’ve even thrashed the defending champions. Of course, wins in Chennai in opposition to Bangladesh and Afghanistan did arrive on anticipated strains, however forward of a key run of fixtures in opposition to India, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan, they’re positioned comfortably as even a few defeats received’t do their prospects of a semifinal spot not a lot hurt. But strictly going by how they’ve fared to date, such outcomes look far-fetched.

On Wednesday, for the primary time on this World Cup, they had been put via a testing interval by the Afghanistan bowlers, particularly their spinners. Without Kane Williamson, New Zealand didn’t flinch when put underneath strain. Instead, in Glenn Phillips – a batsman who has a historical past of struggling in opposition to spinners – and Tom Latham, they discovered the heroes who rescued them.

Chennai: New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan through the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between New Zealand and Afghanistan, at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar) (PTI10_18_2023_000413A)

Phillips’ batting in these situations was a reason behind concern not so way back. During the tour of India earlier this 12 months and on the IPL, all it wanted to dismiss him was somebody who might get the ball to spin. Not using the sweep – the go-to shot for many abroad batsmen who will not be comfy utilizing their toes – Phillips needed to stick with his energy of enjoying from the crease. It is one thing former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan had prompt to him throughout his stint with Jamaica Tallawahs within the Caribbean Premier League.

“I guess the way a lot of boys play over here – sweeping really well and reverse-sweeping really well – but unfortunately I don’t have that quite in my gameplan or to the level I’d be happy to use it consistently in a match. So, for me, it’s about sticking to my strengths: play from the crease and I do have power. But also the beauty of batting at No.6 is that you have the opportunity to soak pressure or mount pressure [on the opposition], depending on the time you come in. So, [it’s] about being able to flip between the two depending on what the team needs,” Phillips, who picked up the Player of the Match award, mentioned.

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Thanks to the 144-run stand between Latham and Phillips for the fifth wicket, New Zealand piled 288/6, a goal that proved method past Afghanistan’s attain as they had been bowled out for 139 with Lockie Ferguson and Santner choosing up three wickets every. It was the best efficiency that the Kiwis wanted earlier than they run into India’s batting line-up that appears pink sizzling in the mean time.

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“Obviously, it’s nice to be in this position to lead into this (India) game, but we know it’s such a long tournament and one loss isn’t going to hurt you if you win the rest – or you kind of look at that at the start. So, we know they’re playing some very good cricket. I think the Powerplay with the ball is going to be very important,” the left-arm spinner mentioned.

Striking within the Powerplay has been New Zealand’s largest energy with the ball. As Trent Boult and Matt Henry confirmed right here on an unresponsive monitor, they’re able to getting the ball to swing and seam. And as soon as they obtained a gap, Ferguson took over, offering the knockout blows earlier than Santner chipped in on the finish.

At Dharamsala, except the situations are tailored for them, Rohit Sharma & Co will face their first actual check at this World Cup for the New Zealand assault has all sides that India have a historical past of struggling in opposition to. Left-arm seam, examine. Right-arm seamer, examine. Out-and-out tempo, examine. Left-arm spin, examine. Medium-pacers, examine. In a format the place most groups want to be aggressive with the bat, New Zealand’s template for the reason that 2015 World Cup has been to go full throttle with the ball. With an all-round, balanced assault at their disposal, it permits them the type of luxurious that not many have. And come Sunday, India might have an actual job on their palms.

Bring on Dharamsala.