Preview: New Zealand v Afghanistan

2015 World Cup

Venue

McLean Park, Napier

Team news

New Zealand have already qualified for the quarter finals at the top of the group, but have not opted to rest any players and Afghanistan will have to deal with a fully firing Black Caps unit in Napier.

The co-hosts have won all four of their matches and come into this game on the back of a long rest, having last played a game more than a week ago, their narrow win over Australia at Eden Park.

That game saw their bowlers do very well, as always, but their batsmen nearly fail to score 152. They will be looking to use this game, against some talented pacemen it must be remembered, as a way to regain that momentum.

The Afghans, meanwhile, were utterly destroyed by Australia, losing by a new World Cup defeat record of 275 runs. They gave up 417 runs, also a new World Cup record, and are at risk of that again, if Brendon McCullum and co. get going.

But their paceman, namely Shapoor and Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan, have the pace and skill to cause some problems. The deck is good for batting though, so any errors will be punished.

Last encounter

They've never actually faced each other in an ODI, and not in T20s either. This will be their maiden meeting.

World Cup meetings

Given this is Afghanistan's first World Cup, they've not met at such an event before.

Key players

New Zealand have a number of players to call on, but the key to a low score by the Afghans will be opening bowler Trent Boult. If he can rip through the top order we'll have a very short game, after his five-fer against the Aussies.

The Afghans will also look to pace, with Shapoor Zadran their leading wicket taker so far. He's been expensive, but has nine wickets in four games, just four behind Tim Southee, the tournament's leading wicket taker.

Umpires

Marais Erasmus and Johan Cloete, Steve Davis (3rd umpire), David Boon (match referee)

Weather

There could be some rain overnight, but forecasts suggest that will be clear by the time the game starts and get sunnier as the day progresses. Temperatures will sit in the mid-20s.

Prediction

New Zealand will win, it's just the margin that's in question. Their pace pair of Southee and Boult could ensure a short day if the Afghans bat first, but there's always a chance that things could be a bit more balanced. But probably not.

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