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After an exciting start to the World Cup where Kiwis crushed the defending champions Australia by 90 odd runs their next challenge awaits in the form of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan started their WC campaign with a loss against England. Even though they scored only 112 runs in the first innings, they made sure it wasn't going to be a cake walk for Eng. There is no doubt that Afghanistan is a formidable T20 team, and they have improved leaps and bounds in recent years. In ODI world cups, T20 world cups, and the Asia cup, Afghanistan has repeatedly threatened India and Pakistan, but they have fallen short every time. The recent game against Pakistan is a great example. During last year's World Twenty20, they had Pakistan by strings until the 17th over, but an over by Karim Janat ruined their night. If they had defeated New Zealand in their last encounter, India would have qualified for the semi-finals.

"We haven't thought too much about that. Nice to play against Australia first up, and it should be a good game." There wasn't a hint of concern about the record of his side in Australia from Kane Williamson. In ICC tournaments, Australia has always been NZ's Achilles heel, and the Kiwis have only won seven international games in Australia since the turn of the century. NZ had won only 4 out of 19 matches vs Aus in all ICC events. Williamson became the 1st NZ captain to defeat them TWICE. (2016 & 2022 ). Would have been thrice if not for the rain affected game in 2017 CT, scored a 100 in that match & Aus were 50-3 , he also scored 45* at Auckland in 2015 !

This was also NZ's 1st win in Australia in white ball cricket since 2009 and overall 2nd biggest win in t20 wc's.

It is not uncommon for NZ to show up at ICC events and somehow make it into knockouts, but this time the road isn't smooth. The skipper himself struggled to put his bat on the ball and struck at less than 100 in the IPL, but in the final of the BAN-PAK tri series, he showed some signs of regaining form. They were dealt with a huge blow when last year's semi final's hero Daryl Mitchell sustained an injury and is expected to feature sometime during the tournament. The Blackcaps took a bold decision to drop Guptill and blood in Finn Allen. Allen is one of the most destructive openers in the format and his SR in the 1st 6 overs is around 155 and they were highly rewarded with that decision. They have unearthed a gem in Michael Bracewell during the European tour and was decalred man of the tournament of the Tri series. The highlight of his performance was he didn't concede even a single six in 5 games and his economy was less than 5. He is an explosive batter down the order with his T20I strike rate standing at 183 and ODI SR at 110

Probable XI

New Zealand

Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult


Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmed, Fazalhaq Farooqi


Melbourne Cricket Ground

Total matches: 19
Matches won batting first: 7
Matches won bowling first: 11
Average 1st Inns scores: 140
Average 2nd Inns scores: 129
Lowest total recorded: 74/10 by IND vs AUS
Highest score chased: 172/5 by SL vs AUS
Lowest score defended: 127/10 by AUS vs PAK

Head to Head

NZ lead by 1-0
Top scorer: Najibullah Zadran (73)
Top Wicket taker: Trent Boult (3)

Team Form (Last 5 matches)


Match Ups

Conway vs Rashid: 12 off 18 balls, no dismissals
Phillips vs Rashid: 28 off 22 balls, no dismissals
Kane vs Mujeeb: 25 off 21 balls, no dismissals
Kane vs Nabi: 27 off 19 balls, no dismissals
Phillips vs Nabi: 24 off 19 balls, 1 dismissal
Rashid vs Boult: 1 run for 2 dismissals
Gurbaz vs Southee: 0 runs for 1 dismissal

Form Update (Last 5 innings)

Key Players & Fantasy Picks

Devon Conway

Just like his intl and IPL debut, Conway has made a brilliant start to his world cup campaign. He was instrumental in NZ reaching 200 and that was the highest individual score by a visiting batter in Australia. The intent of Fin Allen with the stability Conway provides at the top has turned out to be a lethal combo for NZ. Conway's biggest plus point is his ability to take down any kind of spin. He was dearly missed in the final last year after getting ruled due to a self inflicting injury.

Rashid Khan

He is arguably the greatest t20 bowler of all times. Not just with the ball but even with the bat Rashid has repeatedly pulled off miraculous wins in the end overs. The game against CSK and SRH in this year's Indian t20 league are best examples. Apart from Conway, no other NZ batter is skilled enough to counter attack quality spin of Rashid Khan. And if the surface has something in for him then there is a high chnace he could run through NZ's batting line up or at max bowl a economical spell. The middle overs have been a concern for NZ especially beacuse of Williamson's form who prefers to play run a ball. Thats when Rashid Khan bowls most of his overs. Afg could hold his one over at the back end mostly the 17th over which is usually a make or a break over in t20s

Tim Southee

The most improved t20 bowler over the couple of years. He picked 8 wkts at an eco of 5.7 in last wt20, 14 wkts from 9 games in IPL at 7.8 eco and started this wc with a spell of 3/6

Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Apart from being a hard hitting opener he is also a part time keeper. He has more than 2400 runs at a SR of 152, He had an impressive outing on his LPL and BPL debut which led the Gujarat Titans pick him as the replacement for Jason Roy. Along with Gurbaz, another batter to look out for is Najibullah Zadran. He scored 70 odd against NZ in last WT20.

Fantasy XI

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