On Saturday New Zealand has the chance to return back to the top of the table of the Cricket World Cup 2019. All they needed to do was beat a West Indies side that had slim chances of progressing.
The Black Caps knew that to beat a side that never had much to play for was always going to be a tough ask.
Solid New Zealand Batting
New Zealand have been unbeaten thus far in an impressive World Cup campaign and they continued this run with a very tight 5 run win over the West Indies. New Zealand started the game in shocking fashion when Martin Guptill was dismissed with the very first ball of the game from Sheldon Cottrell. The West Indies fast bowler started like a house on fire dismissing Colin Munro also for a first ball duck with a near perfect yorker. But once again their captain Kane Williamson stepped up and scored a magnificent 148. He and Ross Taylor steadied New Zealand’s innings with a 160 run stand and Ross scoring 69. New Zealand posted what we all thought was a mediocre score of 291-8 at Old Trafford.
Fighting West Indies
West Indies reply was rocky at time but a valid fight was on display. They lost an early wicket as well but they turned things around and were on course for victory thanks to a brilliant 122 run partnership between Chris Gayle and and Shimron Hetmyer who scored 87 and 54 respectively. The turn around came when they collapsed from 142-2 to 164-7.
Close But Not Close Enough
They came so close to chasing down the target due to one man and that’s Carlos Brathwaite who scored a quite remarkable 102 from 82 balls. He unfortunately was running out of partners at the other end and tried to smash his way to the total. He smashed three sixes and a four off Matt Henry which left them only needing eight off twelve balls. Unfortunately for the Windies, Braithwaite played one big shot too many and was caught on the boundary which sealed their fate and their very slim hopes of making the semi-finals.
India Close Encounter With Afghanistan
India were expected to be in cruise control for the duration of the game but that was far from it, Afghanistan pushed Virat Kohli’s men to the brink of defeat. India only managed to win by 11 runs which put them into second place behind New Zealand and one step closer to securing that semi-final place. Afghanistan took full advantage of a slow pitch by restricting India to 224-8 which is India’s lowest total of the tournament.
But Afghanistan struggled for runs as well despite coming so close. They needed just 16 off the final 6 balls which meant the game went down to the wire in the last over and it took an absolutely magnificent hat-trick by India’s Mohammed Shami to win the game.