NAPIER, March 8 (PTI): The New Zealand juggernaut continued to roll in the cricket World Cup as they defeated a spirited Afghanistan by six wickets for their fifth win in a row in Pool A, here today.
Chasing a modest 187, New Zealand romped home with 13.5 overs to spare with opener Martin Guptill being their top scorer with a 57-run knock.
Afghanistan owed their total to Najibullah Zadran (56) and Samiullah Shenwari (54), who struck fighting fifties after left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori rocked their middle-order with a four-wicket haul and in the process the veteran New Zealand bowler touched the 300-ODI wickets milestone.
Vettori broke the back of the Afghanistan batting order by taking four wickets at the expense of just 18 runs as the Asian nation posted a modest 186.
Electing to bat, the team from the troubled nation was in a spot of bother, having lost six wickets with just 59 runs on the board but Zadran and Shenwari revived their innings with some gritty batting.
However, the total was too small for their bowlers to defend against a team which is in great form. Skipper Brendon McCullum yet again provided a fiery start to the Kiwis as he blasted 42 runs off just 18 balls. He struck six fours and cleared the boundary ropes one time.
After his dismissal, the run-rate dipped but Kiwis kept going calmy towards the victory target even as the Afghans fought their hearts out.
Kane Williamson (33) and Guptill added 58 runs for the second wicket before the former�s run out. Ross Taylor came to the crease and remained there till the run-chase business was finished.
Earlier, Kiwi paceman Trent Boult (3/34) accounted for Javed Ahmadi (1) in the third ball of the second over and Vettori removed the other opener Usman Ghani (0).
Afghanistan innings: Javed Ahmadi lbw b Boult 1, Usman Ghani b Vettori 0, Nawroz Mangal b Vettori 27, Asghar Stanikzai c Guptill b Boult 9, Samiullah Shenwari c Taylor b Anderson 54, Mohammad Nabi c Taylor b Vettori 6, Afsar Zazai lbw b Vettori 0, Najibullah Zadran c Vettori b Milne 56, Dawlat Zadran c Ronchi b Boult 1, Hamid Hassan c Milne b Anderson 16, Shapoor Zadran not out 2. Extras: (LB-5, WD-9) 14. Total: (all out) 186. Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-6, 3-24, 4-49, 5-59, 6-59, 7-145, 8-151, 9-166. Bowling: T Southee 10-0-43-0, T Boult 10-2-34-3, D Vettori 10-4-18-4, A Milne 10-0-38-1, C Anderson 6.4-0-38-2, G Elliott 1-0-10-0.
New Zealand: M Guptill run out 57, B McCullum b M Nabi 42, K Williamson c S Shenwari b S Zadran 33, R Taylor not out 24, G Elliott run out 19, C Anderson not out 7. Extras: (LB-2, WD-4) 6. Total: (For 4 wickets in 36.1 overs) 188. Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-111, 3-143, 4-175. Bowling: Dawlat Zadran 9-0-51-0, Shapoor Zadran 10-2-45-1, Hamid Hassan 7-1-36-0, Mohammad Nabi 7.1-0-39-1, Samiullah Shenwari 3-0-15-0.