After being flattened by an Australian “freight train” this week, Afghanistan face the unenviable task of picking themselves up to face New Zealand’s World Cup juggernaut at McLean Park tomorrow.
Black Caps paceman Tim Southee said the New Zealanders were intent on maintaining momentum against Afghanistan, who slumped to a tournament record 275-defeat against Australia in Perth on Wednesday.
He said the Afghans should expect no mercy as New Zealand seek to extend their perfect 4-0 winning record at this year’s tournament.
“The minnows have performed strongly at times in this tournament and you can’t afford to ease off because they’re not a more recognised opponent,” Southee told reporters.
“We’ve still got to stick to our game plan and our brand of cricket, so nothing changes from our point of view.”
New Zealand have already qualified for the quarter-finals and wrap up their Pool A matches against Afghanistan and then Bangladesh (in Hamilton on March 13).
“These two games are important to try to win because it takes us to the top of the pool to give ourselves, hopefully, a better run into the final,” all rounder Corey Anderson said.
Anderson has likened New Zealand’s campaign to a juggernaut, while Afghanistan coach Andy Moles said his side “ran into a freight train” against Australia.
“I’ll be doing my best to make sure they don’t go into their shells,” said Englishman Moles, who is familiar with New Zealand conditions after a brief stint coaching the Black Caps in 2008-09.
“I’ll keep telling them to express themselves and play with the freedom Afghanistan cricket has been known for.”
Afghanistan may have stumbled against Australia, but the non-Test playing nation has enjoyed a successful debut at the World Cup after just six years playing one-day internationals (ODIs).