Cricket World Cup 2019: Five-star James Neesham makes it three wins out of three for NZ v Afghanistan

Press Association Sport 00:09 09/06/2019
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Jimmy Neesham.

New Zealand won their third straight match at the World Cup after James Neesham’s maiden international five-wicket haul laid the foundations for a comfortable win over Afghanistan at Taunton.

Afghanistan had motored along to 66 without loss after being asked to bat first in this day-night encounter but the intervention of Neesham (5-31) led to a collapse from which they never fully recovered.

A total of 172 all out after 41.1 overs seemed woefully insufficient and, despite a couple of early scares, that proved to be the case as Kane Williamson’s unbeaten 79 clinched a seven-wicket triumph with 17.5 overs to spare.

New Zealand are therefore top of the embryonic standings after routine victories over Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, either side of a nail-biter against Bangladesh, but tougher tests lie ahead, starting with India next Thursday.

For Afghanistan, a third straight defeat was compounded by a head injury to Rashid Khan, who was unable to take to the field for New Zealand’s chase after being struck on the helmet while batting.

The day had offered plenty of promise for Afghanistan as Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran – the uncle of the dropped Mujeeb Ur Rahman and drafted in because of Mohammad Shahzad’s tournament-ending knee injury – flourished.

The adventurous Hazratullah and the more orthodox Noor Ali started confidently, even if the former led a charmed life, as they put on 61 in the opening powerplay but the introduction of Neesham precipitated a collapse.

Perhaps taking advantage of Lockie Ferguson making life difficult at the other end, Neesham was able to take three of four wickets to fall in the space of 21 balls as Afghanistan lurched from 66 without loss to 70 for four.

Hazratullah was caught at deep cover point for 34, Rahmat Shah got a leading edge to backward point and Gulbadin Naib burned a review after throwing his bat at a wide delivery and getting a slight nick behind.

By this stage Noor Ali (31) had been strangled down the leg side off Ferguson while after two brief rain delays, Neesham had his five-for when Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran were both caught behind in the space of four balls.

Hashmatullah Shahidi had taken 20 balls to get off the mark but where his team-mates had been reckless, he continued to show a commendable degree of restraint. But he was losing partners at an alarming rate, Rashid departing when he leaned into a delivery from Ferguson that kept a little lower than anticipated and struck him on the helmet before ricocheting into his stumps.

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CWC 2019: Eoin Morgan calls ton-machine Jason Roy a 'luxury' for England

Andrew Baldock 23:56 08/06/2019
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Jason Roy.

England captain Eoin Morgan hailed Jason Roy as “a luxury” following the riches of his brilliant 153 that helped demolish World Cup opponents Bangladesh.

England finished on 386 for six, then dismissed Bangladesh for 280 to make it two wins from three ahead of next Friday’s appointment with West Indies in Southampton.

“It’s a luxury,” Morgan said, of the Surrey batsman. “Probably particularly you guys more than anybody, people in the general support of cricket, talk about scoring hundreds. He’s an exception to the rule.

“He just goes on and gets big scores. They can range from 140 to 180, and the rate he can get them at, it is so difficult to defend.

“He scores all the way around the ground, he takes really good bowlers down, he hits good balls for boundaries. He’s great to have in the side.

“One of his biggest strengths at the moment is his temperament.

“It might surprise a lot of people with me saying that, but if you look at the guy as he has matured from a county cricketer into the full-blown international cricketer he is now.

“The temperament he shows at different stages of the innings and how he goes picking off his boundaries, and the areas in which he scores – from the start of his international cricket to right now, I think there is a considerable difference.”

Reflecting on the victory, Roy told Sky Sports: “We wanted to give ourselves the best chance possible.

“We’ve been doing pretty well together over the last couple of years, so we just go out there and get the job done.”

We’ve put in an all-round performance and righted our wrongs. We didn’t know what the pitch was going to behave like, but we know with this team, no matter what we get in the first 10 overs, batting through the whole 50 we are going to get enough.”

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Fiery Jason Roy and England pacers seal crushing win over Bangladesh

Rory Dollard 22:15 08/06/2019
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Jason Roy (r) hit a sparkling 153 against Bangladesh.

Jason Roy helped himself to a sparkling century as England got back to winning ways at the World Cup with a 106-run victory over Bangladesh.

An unexpected setback against Pakistan had raised the stakes of this Cardiff clash, but if there was any lingering tension, Roy’s commanding knock of 153 in 121 balls blew it away in style.

He was responsible for five of England’s 14 sixes, including three in a row immediately before his exit, setting the scene for a daunting total of 386-6.

As well as being a new ground record for Sophia Gardens it also represented England’s best ever score in the competition, eclipsing 2011’s previous high by 48.

Bangladesh never threatened to go close in reply, during which both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood touched 95mph, but Shakib Al Hasan’s classy 121 spared them a rout.

Archer topped and tailed the innings to finish with three for 29, with Wood claiming two and Ben Stokes chipping in with three of his own.

Moeen Ali’s off-spin was certainly not missed, the all-rounder somewhat surprisingly dropped in favour of the returning Liam Plunkett, with England’s pace barrage rolling Bangladesh for 280 in the penultimate over.

The only real concern of the day concerned Jos Buttler, who hurt his right hip during a fine knock of 64 and played no part in the second innings as Jonny Bairstow took over wicketkeeping duties.

After winning the toss Bangladesh predictably opened with Shakib’s left-arm spin. He was hoping to replicate the the success of Imran Tahir and Shadab Khan against England’s openers but instead burned through five chanceless overs. Roy and Bairstow were cautious at first but quickly caught up, peppering the boundary en route to a century stand inside 15 overs.

Roy was the primary aggressor, driving straight and hard and pulling with authority, but Bairstow departed for 51 when Mashrafe Mortaza found a leading edge. Roy never looked likely to do the same, hammering anything short and driving sweetly.

There was an inevitability about his hundred and a peculiarity to its arrival. A misfield in the deep nudged him over the line but his celebrations were delayed after he raced towards the non-striker’s end and barrelled into umpire Joel Wilson, who tumbled to the turf.

Having helped him to his feet, Roy finally had time to toast the moment. With a ninth international ton in the bank he upped the ante, tearing into the spinners as he moved from 100 to 150 in 28 balls. For a moment he even threatened to join the ‘six sixes’ club, nailing Mehidy Hasan for three successive maximums to start the 35th over.

A fourth was clearly on his mind when he swung hard at the next delivery, but this time it looped to cover.

Buttler picked up the baton with his usual flair, thrashing four more sixes, but his efforts came at a cost. Having cleared long-off with a mighty back-foot baseball swing he hobbled for the remainder of his innings and did not re-emerge.

Joe Root and Stokes missed out but a 45-run flurry from Chris Woakes and Plunkett ensured there would be no respite for a weary attack.

Few in attendance expected Bangladesh to scale their target, but an unforgiving burst from Archer forced them to the wall. He started with two immaculate maiden overs, produced extreme pace without breaking sweat and forced Bairstow into respectful retreat – the Test keeper standing closer to the boundary than the stumps.

The highlight came when he responded to a drop at slip by spearing one past Soumya Sarkar’s outside edge and flicking the off bail, a picturesque dismissal completed when the ball sailed over the ropes on the full.

Tamim Iqbal survived his spell but emerged from it with a scrambled mind. No other explanation would account for his decision to walk down the pitch towards Wood, tangling himself in the process and fending straight to cover.

If England were sensing an early finish, Shakib had designs of his own. He joined Mushfiqur Rahim to put on 106 for the third wicket, the pair working the gaps diligently but never grappling with a run-rate that was spiralling ever upwards.

Plunkett eventually parted them, Mushfiqur well taken by Roy at point, and Mohammad Mithun lasted only two balls before nicking a teaser from Adil Rashid. By the time Shakib was yorked by Stokes the result was long settled, but England pushed to finish the job. Stokes struck twice more, Wood removed Mahmudullah and Archer proved far too fast for Mehidy and Mustafizur Rahman.

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