TAUNTON (DNA) – Kane Williamson led by example as the New Zealand captain’s 79 not out guided his side to a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan that maintained their 100 percent start to the World Cup on Saturday.Williamson was New Zealand’s top scorer with a 99-ball innings containing nine fours after Jimmy Neesham took career-best one-day figures of 5-31 to dismiss Afghanistan for 172 at Taunton.
New Zealand’s third successive victory kept them on course to make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament.
New Zealand, who saw off Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in their opening two games, have won 11 of their last 12 World Cup games, with their only defeat in that span coming against Australia in the 2015 final.
“I thought it was an outstanding effort. There are some world class players in the Afghanistan side and they got off to a very good start,” Williamson said.
“In the end it was a brilliant effort to restrict them so fair play to the bowlers, and it was a very good performance with the bat.
“It’s nice to have three wins on the board. Every game is tough and we’ll need to adapt to beat India.”
Minnows Afghanistan have lost all three of their matches and captain Gulbadin Naib was critical of their efforts.
“We started really well and then we didn’t take responsiblity. We missed out on length balls and gave away ugly wickets,” he fumed.
“We are not playing according to the plan, especially the batsmen. Our fielding has to improve.
“There is a lot of work to do to go to the next level.”
The Black Caps’ run chase got off to the worst possible start when Aftab Alam had Martin Guptill caught off a thin inside edge with the first ball of the innings.
Guptill’s 14th ODI duck was a dream start for Aftab in the pace bowler’s first appearance in this year’s World Cup.