“Would’ve liked NZ to bat,” says Joachim Suggate, “and see what kind of total they could put up.” Amen to that, but maybe Afghanistan can catch them under the lights, which are brand new and therefore liable to go wrong.
“Anyone for Porter?” asks Brian Withington, spotting my source for the last line of the preamble. “Afternoon Tim. Showing an early glimpse of stocking? God that man knew how to write a lyric …” He did. But let’s face it, if he was starting out today, he’d be writing for the OBO.
Afternoon everyone. (Anyone?) This is the game for you if you support New Zealand, have a soft spot for Afghanistan, can’t abide England or like a bit of novelty. These two teams have only ever met once in one-day internationals, in the last World Cup, when Daniel Vettori made sure it wasn’t much of a contest. But that was in Napier, where I suspect there weren’t many Afghanistan supporters. Today, in Taunton, at the weekend, the cheers should be more evenly distributed.
The New Zealanders are top of the table with two wins out of two and a commanding net run rate, but they’ve had a relatively gentle start (Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). Afghanistan have lost to Australia and, more painfully, to Sri Lanka, but they’re spirited and skilful and will surely rattle one of the big teams in this World Cup. Today would be a great time to do it, as it would prove, with four weeks of the round robin still to come, that these days, heaven knows, anything goes.
Play starts at 1.30pm BST and the forecast is for sunny spells.