New Zealand have crashed out of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in remarkable circumstances, being thrashed by Afghanistan by 202 runs.
While Afghanistan are a rising cricketing power – especially at age-group levels – they were 4-1 outsiders to beat New Zealand, and certainly weren’t expected to claim such an emphatic victory.
They progress to the World Cup semifinals, and leave New Zealand wondering what could have been after such a strong start to the tournament.
After winning all three group games in impressive fashion, New Zealand were well and truly outplayed by Afghanistan, who made 309-6 batting first at Hagley Oval.
Four players made in between 60 and 70 for the visitors, with the performance of Azmatullah Omarzai boosting them to an excellent total.
Omarzai smoked seven sixes as he blasted 66 from 24 balls, with Afghanistan hitting a remarkable 83 from their last six overs.
Facing a tough task, New Zealand couldn’t respond, with 16-year-old Mujeeb Zadran proving to be the chief destroyer.
The New Zealand batsmen couldn’t cope with Mujeeb’s spin, collapsing to 20-4. Their three star batsmen this tournament – Jakob Bhula, Rachin Ravindra and Finn Allen – all failed to pass 13 as their hope disappeared.
Katene Clarke (38) and Dale Phillips (31) had a brief resurgence, but that was the only positive as Mujeeb (4-14) and fellow spinner Qais Ahmad (4-33) wreaked havoc.
In the end, it was all over early, with New Zealand all out for 107 and Afghanistan moving on in style.
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