After brushing aside Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first two matches, the New Zealand team is ready to take on another Asian side in their third game of the World Cup 2019 extravaganza. In the second game of the exciting double-header Saturday, Kiwis will be locking horns with Afghanistan at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton. Both the teams are coming into this game after experiencing contrasting unfold in their respective previous outings. The Kiwis defeated Bangladesh at The Oval in a close game, while Afghanistan were handed a comprehensive defeat by Sri Lanka in the last match.
There was enough calmness still shining there at the end
Despite his team losing six wickets to spin against Bangladesh in their previous match, New Zealand coach Gary Stead is not concerned about facing Afghanistan's three-pronged spin attack in Taunton on Saturday.
New Zealand may have beaten Bangladesh at The Oval but it was a tighter margin of victory than it should have been after a batting collapse which nearly allowed their opponents to sneak in with a win. Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan and Mosaddek Hossain took two wickets apiece while there were some poor shots from New Zealand as the pressure built.
"Sometimes it gets tight like that that you can panic, but there was enough calmness still shining there at the end. And I hope the lesson that we can take from it is we took some poor options at times. Bangladesh put us under a lot of pressure. They're a really improved cricket team and played with the attitude of 'There's nothing to lose here'," quoted Gary Stead ahead on the eve of the game against Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will be fielding three quality spinners in off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, leggie Rashid Khan and the mystery bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman. This together constitutes of 30 probable overs of spin bowling. "It's hard to put too much focus on it because out of the 45 overs we face, 30 is with spin. A lot more [wickets] will [fall to] spin anyway. We expect that when we face some of these Asian sides, in particular,” said Stead.
"We've played spin well in the past. Maybe the pressure of the moment a wee bit the other night made for some poor decisions. But we've certainly done the homework on the likes of Rashid [Khan] and Mujeeb [Ur Rahman] and [Mohammad] Nabi, who are definitely going to be a force for Afghanistan," he added.