In what promises to be a thrilling encounter, Afghanistan, having recently stunned the 2019 World Cup champions, England, is set to face off against the formidable New Zealand squad. With Afghanistan having found their groove and New Zealand maintaining an impeccable record in the current tournament, fans are eagerly anticipating this contest. The passion of the Delhi crowd, the prowess of key players, and the dynamics of the Chennai pitch set the stage for an epic showdown in the 16th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
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Match Preview: New Zealand vs Afghanistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 16th Match
ICC World Cup • 18 Oct, 2023 • 3,267 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The iconic M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai eagerly awaits the teams; its pitch has historically favoured the artistry of spinners. As matches progress, this surface subtly morphs, becoming a friendlier battleground for batsmen. An earlier contest featuring Bangladesh and New Zealand here ended with restrained numbers on the scoreboard. Furthermore, the pitch’s inherent slower character not only plays into the hands of spin bowlers but also challenges batsmen to adapt and recalibrate their strategies.
Form Guide - New Zealand
The Kiwis are surging forward with unmatched momentum, celebrating five consecutive victories. Their top order, seemingly unstoppable, has been the cornerstone of their success. With every match, they have exhibited dominance, sending a clear message about their robust form and readiness. This message resonates even louder considering their flawless record in this tournament, notching up three victories in as many games.
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Form Guide - Afghanistan
While Afghanistan's resounding victory against the defending titans, England, is commendable, their overall World Cup trajectory has been a blend of highs and lows, encapsulated by their two wins. Their game plan appears to hinge heavily on their top three batsmen, creating a vulnerability. The middle order has, unfortunately, lagged, evident from their struggles and statistically proven with an average that's lacking amongst all Full Member nations. This stat is a glaring indicator they'd wish to address.
Players to Watch
Mitchell Santner, not just a player but a sensation in this tournament, holds the crown of the joint-leading wicket-taker, representing New Zealand with unmatched zeal. On the other side, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, revelling in a phenomenal game against England, is Afghanistan’s beacon. Both these cricketing maestros have already etched memorable performances and are expected to be the linchpins for their respective teams. Santner, with his past engagements with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, might find the familiar setting an added advantage.
The shadow of Kane Williamson’s injury looms large over New Zealand, but solace is found in Tom Latham, who is expected to shoulder the leadership responsibilities. The probable line-up for New Zealand is a testament to their strength, boasting stalwarts and emerging talents. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, still basking in the afterglow of their incredible win against England, seems poised to field the same team, a testament to their faith in that winning combination. Their resurgence after a precarious situation, collapsing from 114 for 0 to 190 for 6, narrates a tale of grit and determination.
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Pitch and Weather Report
Chennai is predicted to roll out its signature spin-friendly pitch for the players. Despite a drizzle a day prior, match day promises clearer skies. With temperatures hovering around 32°C and a mere 10% chance of rain, the stage seems set for an uninterrupted cricketing tale. Additionally, with wind speeds touching 18 km/h, bowlers might have an added dimension to consider during their spells.
New Zealand (Probable)
Tom Latham (capt, wk), Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Lockie Ferguson, Will Young, Mitchell Santner, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Trent Boult, Daryl Mitchell, Matt Henry
Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahmat Shah, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ibrahim Zadran
Cricket enthusiasts can tune into the Star Sports network to watch the live action available in various languages. Additionally, for fans in India, the match can be live-streamed on the Disney+ Hotstar app and website. The match is scheduled to start at 2 pm IST, corresponding to 8:30 am GMT, on Wednesday, 18th October.
The stage is set at the iconic M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, where two in-form teams, boasting talent and recent achievements, will battle it out in the 16th fixture of the World Cup. With both teams presenting their own set of challenges, strengths, and game-changers, this contest is not merely a match but a narrative of determination, strategy, and cricketing brilliance. As fans worldwide tune into this anticipated face-off, the stakes, emotions, and expectations run high in this chapter of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
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