Alongside India, New Zealand remains the only other team to not lose a match yet in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 so far, and sit pretty on second with three wins in three matches. Afghanistan on the other hand, are coming into the match on the back of a massive win against defending champions England.
Amid a recent trend of upsets with South Africa falling to a defeat against the Netherlands last night, this encounter will again be an exciting watch for the fans and the neutrals.
The 16th match of the ICC World Cup 2023 between New Zealand and Afghanistan will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai and will begin from 2 pm.
Head To Head:
New Zealand, who had conjured an upset of their own against favourites England in the World Cup opener defeating them by nine wickets have put forward their best foot in every match since.
Against Afghanistan, the Kiwis have played only two One Day Internationals (ODIs) so far with both matches coming in World Cups. In the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand defeated the Afghans by seven wickets. Previously in the 2015 edition, New Zealand had won by six wickets.
However, this is a completely different Afghanistan team led by Hashmatullah Shahidi with stars like Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Mujeeb Ur Rahman who have lit up the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The stadium at Chepauk is known for its unique features. Batters who take their time and settle down are likely to go on and post huge scores, however, they must be weary of spinners. Meanwhile, hard-hitters may find the comparatively difficult with the slow pace of the pitch making it hard to hit the ball out of the ground.
The average score of the first-innings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is 232. Historically, the team that has batted first has had the upper hand, winning 14 out of the 25 matches. However, when World Cups come around, statistics like those go out of the window. This World Cup has seen teams batting second winning both the matches played there so far, chasing down totals of 200 and 246.
According to Google’s win probability, New Zealand have a 74 per cent chance of winning the match. However, Afghanistan’s chances have also increased after their big win against England, and as we have seen earlier, how the Netherlands came from having a one per cent probability to win against South Africa, nothing is decided until the end.
CricTracker says that the toss will be important as the team bowling first will take the match, while Khel Now believes that New Zealand will win the match, however, it won’t be a straightforward victory. The Black Caps are also missing skipper Kane Williamson through a thumb injury, and Afghanistan will look to exploit that.