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ICC Cricket World Cup Preview: Afghanistan v New Zealand

THE MATCH

County Ground Taunton is the venue for the ICC Cricket World Cup clash between Afghanistan and New Zealand tomorrow (Saturday).

Afghanistan will be looking for their first win of the tournament after losing out to Australia and Sri Lanka in their opening two fixtures.

By contrast New Zealand will be seeking to maintain their 100% start to the competition after coming out on top against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in their two matches.

The game is due to get underway at 1:30pm with gates opening at 11:30am.

TICKETS

There are a handful of tickets remaining for this match.

Tickets will be available to purchase in person only from the Ticket Office at the St James Street Gate from 7:30am.

Prices start from £40 for adults and £10 for children.

HOW CAN I STAY UP TO DATE?

The match is being broadcast live on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Cricket (red button) with coverage starting from 1pm.

For updates check out @CricketWorldCup on Twitter

There will also be coverage via the BBC  Sport website.

In addition to this a report on the day’s play along with quotes will be posted on this site after the close.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have met once before in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

This encounter took place at McLean Park, Napier on March 8th 2015.

Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first.

Half centuries from Samiullah Shenwari (54) and Najibullah Zadaran (56) helped their side to post a total of 186 all out from 47.4 overs. Daniel Vettori was the pick of the bowlers, claiming four for 18 from 10 overs.

Chasing 187 for victory, New Zealand reached their target from 36.1 overs for the loss of just four wickets.

Martin Guptill top scored with 57 as the Black Caps won by six wickets.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Ahead of the match Afghanistan Captain, Gulbadin Naib said: “We are improving day by day. We’re not here just to participate, we’re here to do something different and to show the world that we’re not like the 2015 team.

“You saw in the warm-up game against Pakistan and against Australia as well that Afghanistan is totally different now. We have world-class players in the team, world-class batsmen.

“We will play our natural game, just go for who we are and why we’re here. It’s important we don’t look for the names [in the New Zealand team], just play the ball.

“They have plenty of experience in the New Zealand side but we look forward to playing our natural game and playing the Afghan way. Hopefully we do the best we can.”

New Zealand Coach, Gary Stead said: “Afghanistan are definitely a force and spin is one of their strength areas. It’s not worth putting too much focus on our top six all getting out to spinners because almost 30 overs of the 47 were spin anyway.

“We have played spin well in the past and maybe the pressure of the moment the other night made for some poor decisions.

“We’ve certainly done homework on Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi – the likes of those guys who will definitely be a force for Afghanistan.

“We’re also expecting a wicket with good pace in it at Taunton. It does spin for four-day games here but for the World Cup it’s well-grassed, so should have some good pace.”

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

All the information that you need before traveling to Taunton for the match can be found here

This covers everything from planning your journey to what to do when you get here.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

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