Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib believes his side’s “natural game” can counter New Zealand’s experience in Saturday’s World Cup clash at Taunton.
The Black Caps lead the table following victories against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – and, in all, have won 10 of their last 11 World Cup games.
“They have plenty of experience,” admitted Naib, whose side are still looking for their first point in the tournament after defeats to Australia and Sri Lanka.
“It’s important we don’t look for the names, just play the ball. Trent Boult and also Matt Henry and the other guys, they have much, much experience.
“But we look forward to playing our natural game and the Afghan way. Hopefully we do the best we can.”
“Shahzad is a great player for Afghanistan,” added Naib. “We’ll miss a lot of things about him. I’m really upset for him.”
Afghanistan have only faced New Zealand once before in 50-over cricket, losing by six wickets at the 2015 World Cup.
Black Caps head coach Gary Stead is determined his side repeat the feat this time around and is optimistic there will be no repeat of the edginess that almost cost them victory against Bangladesh.
“I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, if you look back at the Bangladesh game, the position we’re in, we probably should have been walking off with a six-wicket win or something like that,” he said.
“But strange things can happen in cricket. And I’m just thankful we were on the right side of it.
“There’s sometimes ones when it gets tight like that that you can panic, but there was enough calmness still shining there at the end.
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