CWC 2019: AFG vs PAK and AUS vs NZ Review

Image Courtesy: NDTV Sports

Pakistan and Australia notched up victories at Leeds and Lord’s respectively to spice up the race for the top four. While Afghanistan came once again close to a victory, the Blackcaps were battered by their Trans-Tasman rivals.

Match 1: Afghanistan vs Pakistan; Headingley, Leeds

Image Courtesy: NDTV Sports

Pakistan’s resurgence after the heavy defeat against India continued with a win over their neighbours. The victory, however, did not come easy as the minnows took the 1992 World Cup winners to the limit.

On a slow surface at Leeds, Pakistan bowlers restricted their opponents to 227-9 with Shaheen Afridi picking up 4 wickets. Veteran Asghar Afghan’s knock of 42 off 35 proved to be the boost in the end.

Despite losing Fakhar Zaman early on, Pakistan were well on course to chase the total. But their issues while chasing crept up once again as they endured a middle order collapse.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed soon ran himself out to leave the side reeling at 156-6 with 10 overs to go. The spinners strangled the pair of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim as they struggled to read the delivery.

The bowling side were well in command till the 46th over until the skipper Gulbadin Naib brought himself to bowl. The over cost the side 18 runs and despite some tight bowling in the end by Mujeeb-ur- Rahman and Rashid Khan, the chasing side got home with 2 balls to spare.

It was a case of so close, yet so far for the Afghans who were also in contention to win the match against India.

Match 2: Australia vs New Zealand; Lord’s

Australia continued their march towards the knockout stage with a dominant win over the hapless Kiwis. Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Australia’s reliable opening pair faltered and the pressure was put on the middle order.

Struggling at 92-5 courtesy of the New Zealand bowling attack, Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja dug in to stitch a crucial 107-run stand which saw both the batsmen bring up their fifties.

The Blackcaps got some reprieve in the end after Trent Boult picked up a hattrick to end the Aussie inning. Chasing 244 for victory, the 2015 World Cup finalists were never in the chase as the in-form bowling line-up rattled the batting order.

Barring Kane Williamson, who scored 40, no one could contribute much which ultimately cost them as they collapsed to 157 to hand the Aussies a huge victory with Starc picking up his second five-wicket haul.

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