New Zealand have won two matches while Afghanistan have lost as many matches in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. The Kiwi side will aim to register its third consecutive win and Afghanistan, on the other hand, would aim to open their account when the teams clash on June 8 at Taunton.
New Zealand, known as BlackCaps, are considered dark horse along with the West Indies in the 50-over tournament. Australian legends like Mark Waugh and Brett Lee picked up the Kiwis, the 2015 World Cup runners-up, as the fourth team to enter the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. The Kiwis heavily rely on their top-order and pace bowlers to pose a threat to their opponents.
On the other hand, Afghanistan also cannot be taken lightly because last year they were the ones who overpowered West Indies in the final of World Cup qualifier. Also, the team has quite a strong bowling attack which has the capability to restrict any team to a low total.
1. Martin Guptill:
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Guptill was the architect behind New Zealand's best-ever World Cup campaign in 2015, guiding the team to its maiden tournament final which they eventually lost to Australia by seven wickets. The New Zealand opener topped the tournament charts with 547 runs at an average of 68.37 and scored unbeaten 237, the highest individual score at the World Cup, in the quarter-finals against West Indies. Guptill registered three centuries, 138 against Sri Lanka, and 117 not out and 118 against Bangladesh earlier this year. The right-hander scored an unbeaten 73 against Sri Lanka in New Zealand's first World Cup 2019 match.
2. Rashid Khan:
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This spinner leads Afghanistan's bowling attack as the 20-year old youngster is capable of delivering a stellar performance in the game. Rashid took 17 wickets in the IPL 2019. During their first World Cup warm-up game against Pakistan, he took two wickets and conceded just 27 runs in his nine overs. In the World Cup against Sri Lanka, Rashid returned with figures of 2-17.
3. Ross Taylor:
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Taylor became the seventh Kiwi cricketer to play in his fourth and last World Cup. New Zealand depend mostly on Taylor if their top-order fails to give a good kick-start. The 35-year-old hit 54, 90 and 137 against Sri Lanka early this year. During India tour of New Zealand, Taylor smashed 93 in the third match. The right-hander scored 71 against India in a World Cup warm-up match. Taylor played a knock of 82 runs against Bangladesh in a World Cup match.
4. Mohammad Nabi:
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Along with Rashid, Mohammad Nabi strengthens Afghanistan's bowling attack as the 34-year old provides experience to the squad. During their first warm-up match, Nabi got hold of three Pakistan batsmen and gave away just 46 runs in his 10 overs quota. Nabi bagged four wickets against Sri Lanka in a World Cup match.
5. Trent Boult:
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Boult had finished the 2015 edition as the tournament's joint-highest wicket-taker along with Australia's Mitchell Starc. He has become one of the most successful fast bowlers of New Zealand. Boult has picked up 21 wickets so far this year in bi-lateral series, including a five-for against India, three-wicket haul against both India and Bangladesh. During the World Cup warm-up matches, he returned with four scalps against both India and West Indies in the first and second practice game, respectively. Boult returned with two wickets in a World Cup match against Bangladesh.