27th over: New Zealand 141-3 (Williamson 57, Latham 5)
Seven off Gulbadin’s over with narry a dash of danger. Lawrie Taylor is not alone in thinking ahead.
I n reply to Alistair’s comment about NZ team effort, yes I think you are right they seem to be avoiding taking the lower order teams to the “cleaners”. Maybe their real test will be when they come up against the West Indies against whom Australia had to dig themselves out of a hole.
26th over: New Zealand 134-3 (Williamson 47, Latham 4) A blow for New Zealand, but one they should be able to take. Latham takes no prisoners, watches Aftab for a ball, and sends his next, another full-toss, straight back past the bowler for four. 39 needed.
WICKET! Taylor b Aftab 48
The ball after Taylor gets four from a misfield, Aftab gets his revenge. Taylor misses a full-toss and his off stump disappears.
25th over: New Zealand 124-2 (Williamson 47, Taylor 42) Nabi’s first ball is launched by a smiling Taylor on to the roof of the Andy Caddick pavillion. Andy Caddick would not be smiling. At half-way, the shadows s-t-r-e-t-c-h across the playing surface and across Afghanistan’s campaign.
Williamson cuts, for two, and that’s his fifty. Inelegant by his standards, unusually grafting, but he’s on his way.
24th over: New Zealand 113-2 (Williamson 47, Taylor 35) Six off the over, Williamson biffs a Ramat Shah long-hop to the boundary as the midgies flap about Taunton and MC Hammer hits the tannoy.
23rd over: New Zealand 107-2 (Williamson 42, Taylor 34) Taylor throws a thick-edge past the keeper and down to the boundary. Slow and steady black-caps, slow and steady.
22nd over: New Zealand 101-2 (Williamson 42, Taylor 28) A handful of singles off Ramat. And an answer to Alistair’s question: aren’t New Zealand by nature no better than they have to be? To chilled to be outrageous for the sake of it? This is just the warm-up. Isn’t it?
21st over: New Zealand 97-2 (Williamson 40, Taylor 26) Gulbadin bowls a no ball because there aren’t enough fielders in the circle and to make it worse, Williamson cracks him for four. Then more awkwardness from Williamson who is out of sorts, in the way that only class batsmen can be out of sorts.
19th over: New Zealand 89-2 (Williamson 33, Taylor 26) Ramat unleashes a cracking leggie which beats Taylor.
Alistair writes from Lyon.
Unpatriotic of me, but I have a sinking feeling that NZ are no better than they need to be. They will win the match, but they will make it look close, as against Bangladesh. They should have killed it in 20 overs, as they did with Sri Lanka.
Higher risk, bigger rewards.
Or are they hiding their light under a bushel, to fool the big boys?
19th over: New Zealand 88-2 (Williamson 32, Taylor 26) Did I say Williamson was out of touch? Gulbadin sends one in a little short and Williamson pulls it for four like an irritated man with a point to prove.
A couple looking thoroughly cold and wrapped up in blankets pop up on the TV. The shade on a chilly June late afternoon is not a good place to be.
18th over: New Zealand 81-2 (Williamson 27, Taylor 25) A comedy bit of fielding down in the deep by Hamid, who gets into position and then lets the ball run through his entire defence system to. A death-star like flaw.
My ten year old helper tells me New Zealand’s next game is against India on Thursday.
17th over: New Zealand 75-2 (Williamson 26, Taylor 20) Crowded house comes over the tannoy – bringing back happy memories of driving a camper van round New Zealand when we were over for my brother Sam’s wedding. Well, I say driving – passengering, but in control of the CD player. Fat Freddy’s drop too.
Nice from Hassan, a good fast yorker that went under Taylor’s bat. Williamson not looking his chilled, fluent self here. Ominously for whoever they play next, he’s probably nudging himself back into form.
16th over: New Zealand 71-2 (Williamson 24, Taylor 20) Gulbadin looks about. Hmmm. Enter Rahmat Shah, a batsman with a sideline in legspin. Taylor edges his first ball through third man for four. But that is followed by five watchful dots. Well bowled! And that’s drinks.
15th over: New Zealand 67-2 (Williamson 24, Taylor 16) Hamid Hassan returns, just three off the over.
Romeo writes again, good to see someone’s out there…
Afghanistan need to play more in Britain/Ireland and the kind of conditions there if they’re to be more competitive.
Ireland and Scotland, both fine sides in themselves, will welcome them again, no doubt, as they have before, but when will England host them for a proper series?
I hope it happens before I die but I’m not confident. Maybe also New Zealand could have them over for a tour?
14th over: New Zealand 64-2 (Williamson 22, Taylor 15) Since the last World Cup, no finger spinner has taken more wickets than Nabi. And New Zealand fail to get him away again. Just three off the over. One of them a frankly terrible run there by Taylor and Williamson which leaves Williamson running to the danger end. But the throw isn’t quite good enough from mid-wicket and he’s safe.
13th over: New Zealand 61-2 (Williamson 21, Taylor 13) Taylor cuts – ooof -he’s strong. A bit short, a bit wide, just how he likes it. Gulbadin is cross with himself.
Net bowler hit by David Warner report: his CT scan is fine, and he’s feeling good. He’ll be kept in hospital for observation for a while.
12th over: New Zealand 56-2 (Williamson 21, Taylor 8) We have spin in the body of Mohammad Nabi, Mr Reliability. Sharp haircut; tall, too. Was that last ball the doosra? New Zealand watchful, wary.
11th over: New Zealand 52-2 (Williamson 20, Taylor 6) Gulbadin bustles like few others bustle.Ian Austin perhaps, or Steve Waugh. A maiden.
10th over: New Zealand 52-2 (Williamson 20, Taylor 6) Another super over from Aftab – an lbw appeal against Taylor and a Williamson slice that just falls short of midwicket. In between Taylor slaps a big beautiful pull to the boundary. End of the power play. New Zealand have nine runs fewer and have lost two more wickets than Afghanistan at the same stage.
9th over: New Zealand 46-2 (Williamson 19, Taylor 1) Williamson cracks Gulbadin for four. Two balls later, Gulbadin sends one past Williamson’s outside edge. It doesn’t look out. The 18 year old wicket-keeper looks unconvinced . The umpire says not out. But Gulbadin is sure! Ultra-edge says no, no, no. Gulbadin has now wasted two reviews – one when he was batting, one when he was bowling. There must be a word for that.
Rashid Khan news: he will play no further part in the match. A precautionary decision.
8th over: New Zealand 41-2 (Williamson 15, Taylor 0) Is this getting interesting? If one of these two gets out it might be. Silly shot really there from Munro. Aftab only in his second ODI has a double-strike.
WICKET! Munro c Hamid b Aftab 22
Munro upper-cuts, but down on the third man boundary Hamid is waiting, and catches it soundly down on his knees.
7th over: New Zealand 39-1 (Williamson 14, Munro 21) Gulbadin takes the ball. No headband here. But the same accuracy. Afghanistan have a slip for Kane Willamson, who then, to the last ball of the over,a fractionally wider one, sways onto the back foot and, head text-bookishly arranged over the bat, drives him away for four.
6th over: New Zealand 34-1 (Williamson 10, Munro 20) A big hand here for Afghanistan’s seamers. Keeping it tight, keeping it on the imaginary tuppence located in that secret bowling sweet spot. Kane Williamson does sneak a boundary, an inside edge, which misses the stumps and carries on its merry way down to the boundary. To Hassan, the honours.
5th over: New Zealand 28-1 (Williamson 6, Munro 19) Aftab’s chain is good and chunky, and only two runs come off that over – working his angles, keeping the batsmen guessing.
Romeo writes in, hoping that Rashid Khan will be allowed to rest.
I hope they don’t let Rashid come out (in fact I’m sure they won’t).
They will miss Dawlat, but Hamid and Aftab will do fine, and Ikram is a proper wicketkeeper and very talented.
4th over: New Zealand 26-1 (Williamson 5, Munro 18) Hassan, face adorned with black warpaint, headband ready, races in and Munro, foxed, edges him down to third man. But Munro is hungry. To the fifth ball, squarely confident, he drives him square for four.
3rd over: New Zealand 20-1 (Williamson 4, Munro 13) Munro pushes Aftab down the ground with such timing that’s its at the boundary before you can say Quantocks. Williamson then waves Aftab away mid approach, but when the ball finally arrives just lobs him away, content to play his favoured anchor role.
2nd over: New Zealand 14-1 (Williamson 4, Munro 9) A good over from Hassan – just a couple of singles and a wide. Angus Fraser was curious enough to ask about his availability for Middlesex a while ago.
Feeling slightly over-full after spending the morning making brownies and the afternoon eating them at my daughter’s club’s fund-raiser. I recommend Mary Berry’s easy receipe. Put it all in a bowl and mix it together. Do let me know what you’ve been up to.
1st over: New Zealand 11-1 (Williamson 2, Munro 0) Munro doesn’t hang about, two fours – a slash though the covers, a power-push down the ground. They’ll laugh off that early wicket – won’t they?
News on Rashid Khan after that bang on the helmet. He
is not on the field, he’s failed his first concussion test. They’ll give him another one in 45 minutes.
Wicket! Guptill c Najib b Aftab 0
The headband warrior gets a breakthrough with the very first ball of the innings! An inside edge onto his pad which loops up to backward point.
Taunton is looking gorgeous by the way. Hope the crowd, which looks good on the telly at least, get some thing like a match here. As a county cricket media officer said to me last week, “I like Somerset. A proper club that does things properly.”
Ah, here come the players – Guptill and Munro for New Zealand. Everyone’s favourite minnow (are they still minnows?) against everyone’s second favourite team. Aftab Alam takes the first over.
Thank you Tim, my first proper boss and how lucky I was! He even paid me a small sum for work experience- back in 1997 – which was unusual to say the least, but just the way it should be. Enough now of the love-in, how about this game?
Afghanistan will be disappointed with their final total after being 61-0 off the first ten. But, thanks to that last hit-a-long from Hashmatullah, they have a (small) chance. So long as Rashid Khan isn’t too hurt after being hit on the helmet. News to follow.
Pommie Mbangwa is looking at the pitch. He thinks the New Zealanders will enjoy themselves here. Ian Smith, Simon Doull and Mark Nicholas are all in matching blue suits, some, it has to be said, cut tighter than others.
That was a strange innings. What’s the Afghan idiom for the curate’s egg? They started superbly, racing to 66-0 off 64 balls as Hazratullah roared and Noor Ali purred. Then they collapsed, perhaps on the basis of when in England, do as the English do. But in between the showers they showed some fight, even though the pitch had quickened up and the New Zealanders were suddenly fancying themselves as the West Indians of the Seventies. Jimmy Neesham picked up a five-for, though to my eye Lockie Ferguson was even better. One of these days, we will realise that NZ should be right up there among the favourites for this World Cup.
That’s it from me – it’ll be Tanya Aldred, The Guardian’s queen of the county scene, to see you through. I remember when she was just the work-experience kid at Wisden. Thanks for your company, your emails, and your geological bibliography.
Wicket!! Hashmatullah c Henry b Ferguson 59 (Afghanistan 172 all out)
That’s that! Hashmatullah has a flail at Ferguson, whose pace carries the ball to third man, where Henry takes a sharp tumbling catch as his shades fly off towards fine leg. So Hashmatullah finally departs for 59 off 99 balls, Ferguson has 4 for 37, and NZ have to get 173 to maintain their 100-per-cent record. It should be a cakewalk, but you never know.
“There is no Afghan commentator on the ICC/Sunset+Vine roster,” says Romeo, darkly. “Why not? Every other team has at least one and many have loads. There is something wrong here.”
41st over: Afghanistan 172-9 (Hashmatullah 59, Hassan 7) Hashmatullah has been shepherding Hassan, shielding him from the strike and giving him little lectures, but now he leaves him to face five balls from Boult and Hassan is up to the task.
40th over: Afghanistan 171-9 (Hashmatullah 58, Hassan 7) Against the odds, these two are hanging in there.
Edmund King has waited two hours for an answer to his question about geology books (15:22), but then what’s two hours in 66 million years? And now we have one. “My wife still has a few geology/Earth Sciences books from her student days, which I’ve dug out,” says John Starbuck. “They are fairly dated by now” – is that a joke? – “but there might be later editions: 1) The Story of the Earth by Patrick Moore and Peter Cattermole; 2) The Inacessible Earth by G. C. Brown and A.E. Mussett; 3) Mineralogy for students by M.H. Battey. Good fossicking!” I’m just wondering which one you’ve made up.
39th over: Afghanistan 168-9 (Hashmatullah 56, Hassan 6) A few dots, and then Hashmatullah spots Boult’s yorker, actually a full toss, and plays a very classy clip to deep square leg’s right. That went off the bat so fast that you rather fear for the Afghanis if Guptill gets going.
38th over: Afghanistan 163-9 (Hashmatullah 51, Hassan 6) Ferguson tries a yorker and Hashmatullah is equal to it, digging it out so well that he gets four to long-on, and completing a fine fighting fifty off 84 balls. It’s largely thanks to him that Afghanistan are still out there.
37th over: Afghanistan 158-9 (Hashmatullah 46, Hassan 6) While all this has been happening, Hashmatullah has been up the other end, like a teenager at a wedding, lurking in the corner and hoping you won’t realise that he’s there with his parents. Facing Boult, he picks up four off a top-edged hook.
36th over: Afghanistan 153-9 (Hashmatullah 41, Hassan 6) Do Afghanistan bat all the way down? Hamid Hassan comes in, plays a very classy on-drive for four, and moves to six off two balls. For the Afghanis, it’s a funny young game.
“Afghan Harrow cut?” wonders Peter Rowntree. “How about a Kyber chop?” Nice one.
Wicket! Aftab c Latham b Ferguson 14 (Afghanistan 147-9)
Live by the slog, die by the slog. Aftab slaps a short ball into the clouds and Tom Latham does a good job of motoring into no-man’s-land, waiting several minutes, and not letting the ball bounce out of his gloves as it returns to earth’s orbit.
35th over: Afghanistan 139-8 (Hashmatullah 41, Aftab 6) Aftab is approaching the task the way Darren Gough once did, as if the crowd had all come to see him bat. Sometimes he even connects with the ball. Meanwhile, in Cardiff, England have taken a couple of quick wickets, but Shakib al Hasan has a hundred.