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Neesham, Williamson guide NZ to facile win over Afghanistan

IANS  |  Taunton 

and starred with bat and ball respectively as eased past Afghanistan, who were without for one part of the game, with a seven-wicket victory which ensured they maintain their clean slate, in a rain interrupted tie here on Saturday.

After asking to bat first, Neesham racked up his first maiden five-wicket haul as he returned career-best figures of 5/31 to bundle the opponents out for a paltry 172.

Chasing the modest target, Kiwis Williamson led from the front with an unbeaten 79 off 99 balls, his innings laced with nine fours, as won with 107 balls to spare.

lost star leg-spinner Rashid who was ruled out after their innings as a precautionary measure after the 20-year-old was hit on the head on the helmet as he got out in the first essay.

"will take no further part in the game today. He has been pulled out as a precaution after being hit on his head while batting," the ICC said in a tweet.

Rashid was batting on 0 when a Lockie Ferguson delivery in the 34th over climbed into his helmet and ricocheted down onto the stumps.

Rashid was visibly shaken by the blow as Kane Williamson, his at Sunrisers in the Indian Premier League, was seen coming across and putting his arm around Rashid to check if he was alright.

The physio was then out on the field as Rashid was escorted off with his eyes starting to bulge.

Table toppers have now won all three of their matches, having six points and a net run rate of +2.163.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, succumbed to their third straight defeat and remained at the foot of the 10-team points table.

The Afghans were off to a dream start when (3/45) removed in the very first delivery. (22) was also sent back by the pacer but once the experienced Williamson and (48; 52b; 6x4; 1x6) joined hands for a 89-run stand for the third wicket, it was just a matter of time before the Black Caps sealed the issue.

Taylor was unfortunate to miss out on a half century as he got out to Alam but (13 not out) remained at the crease with Williamson who, fittingly, hit the winning runs as New Zealand won with 17.5 overs to spare putting up 173/3.

Earlier, Neesham broke Afghanistan's 66-run opening stand between and (31) by dismissing Zazai (34) before sending back (0) and then cleaning up their middle order with the scalps of (4), (9) and Najibullah Zadran (4) in no time.

For the Afghans Hashmatullah Shahidi scored a defiant 59 but it was not enough to take them past the 200-run mark.

Besides Neesham, tearaway quick Ferguson took 4 wickets, giving away 37 runs in 9.1 overs. Ferguson ended Aftab Alam's 14 run cameo as he was caught by wicketkeeper who took as many as five catches behind the stumps.

Brief scores: Afghanistan: 172 all out (Hashmatullah Shahidi 59; 5/31, Lockie Ferguson 4/37) vs New Zealand 173/3 in 32.1 overs (79 not out; 48; 3/45).

--IANS

dm/rs

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 09 2019. 01:40 IST
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