Afghanistan v New Zealand: Black Caps expected to maintain winning run

New Zealand will be expected to make it three wins from three at this year's Cricket World Cup when they face Afghanistan in Taunton.

The Blacks Caps followed up their crushing win over Sri Lanka by getting home by just two wickets in a tense encounter with Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Ross Taylor made a crucial 82 after the impressive Matt Henry claimed 4-47 in a gripping contest at The Oval.

It would be a major shock if New Zealand fail to maintain their 100 per cent record on Saturday.

Afghanistan have lost both games so far and suffered another blow when wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury, with Ikram Ali Khil replacing him.

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls (hamstring) is back in contention, but paceman Tim Southee (calf) remains sidelined.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

New Zealand thumped sorry Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their first match in Cardiff, but the nerves were jangling as they made hard work of reaching their target of 245 against the Tigers.

Australia consigned Afghanistan to a seven-wicket loss in Bristol before Gulbadin Naib's men went down by 34 runs in a rain-affected match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

New Zealand seamer Mark Henry: "We have a new challenge coming up against Afghanistan in different conditions. We'll have to adapt and bring our 'A game' to put our best foot forward to get another win."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We can take a lot of [positive] things from the last game with Sri Lanka. One time it looked like we were in the game. Me and Najibullah [Zadran] batted really well. We hope we carry on our momentum in the upcoming matches."

 

OPTA FACTS

- The Black Caps won the only previous ODI between the two nations by six wickets at the 2015 World Cup.

- New Zealand have won 10 of their last 11 World Cup matches - their only defeat during that span coming in the final against Australia four years ago.

- Kane Williamson has scored 747 runs in his last 10 ODI knocks in England and Wales.

- Mohammad Nabi took 4-30 against Sri Lanka, equalling his best ODI figures. Just two of his 90 legal balls have been struck for boundaries in the tournament.

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