WORLD CUP: Neesham, Williamson take New Zealand top of the table

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New Zealand made it three wins from three as Jimmy Neesham and Lockie Ferguson found form with the ball in a seven-wicket win against Afghanistan.

Neesham (5-31) and Ferguson (4-37) ran through the top and middle order as Afghanistan were bowled out for 172.

Despite losing Martin Guptill first ball and Colin Munro cheaply, New Zealand coasted to their target with 17.5 overs to spare. Captain Kane Williamson led the way with an unbeaten 79 from 99 balls.

SCOREBOARD: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8039/scorecard/1144495/afghanistan-vs-new-zealand-13th-match-icc-cricket-world-cup-2019

It was a convincing win for New Zealand to go alongside their 10-wicket and two-wicket victories against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively.

Williamson and Ross Taylor (48) added 89 for the third wicket, ensuring the Black Caps were well on course to win before the new permanent floodlights at Taunton could take full effect.

Kane Williamson of New Zealand celebrates fifty against Afghanistan at The County Ground on June 08, 2019 in Taunton, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

But despite taking a two-point lead at the top of the table, they arguably missed out on further boosting their net run-rate by making ponderous progress to the target of 173, taking until the 25th over for Taylor to hit their first six of the innings.

New Zealand could be joined at the top on six points by Australia if they beat India at The Oval on Sunday.

Afghanistan fell to their third defeat in three, falling short with the bat and proving error-prone in the field once again.

That was despite some entertaining flourishes at the top of the order from Hazratullah Zazai (34) and Noor Ali Zadran (31) and a gutsy 59 from Hashmatullah Shahidi. Seamer Aftab Alam also showed his potential, taking all three of New Zealand’s wickets to fall.

But they were hampered by the loss of leg-spinner Rashid Khan midway through the game with a head injury, caused when he was hit on the helmet and bowled for nought after ducking into a short ball from Ferguson. (BBC Sport)

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