Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 September 2019

Cricket World Cup 2019: Afghanistan's Rashid Khan 'much better' after being struck on helmet in loss to New Zealand

Spinner was hurt while batting and did not bowl but captain Gulbadin Naib said he should be fit for next game with South Africa

New Zealand's Kane Williamson, left checks on Afghanistan's Rashid Khan after a ball bowled by Lockie Ferguson bounced off Rashid's helmet and onto the stumps. AP Photo
New Zealand's Kane Williamson, left checks on Afghanistan's Rashid Khan after a ball bowled by Lockie Ferguson bounced off Rashid's helmet and onto the stumps. AP Photo

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib attempted to play down concerns surrounding Rashid Khan after the vaunted leg-spinner took a blow to the helmet in the seven-wicket defeat to New Zealand.

Rashid leaned into a Lockie Ferguson delivery that reared up and struck him on the helmet before ricocheting into the stumps, with the 20-year-old requiring treatment before being escorted off the field by the physiotherapist.

He did not take to the field during the Black Caps' reply, hindering Afghanistan's attempt to defend 172 at Taunton, but the bigger talking point was the condition of the spinner.

"He's much better now," Gulbadin said. "That's why he didn't come (to field). The doctor said don't go to the ground. Now he's feeling well. He needed rest.

"Obviously we have a couple of days (before Afghanistan's next match against South Africa next Saturday).

"But he should go to hospital and check for some tests."

As for whether he will be sidelined for their fixture against the Proteas, Gulbadin added: "Afghani people are strong. So it's just a small thing."

Afghanistan had motored along to 66 without loss in what was supposed to be a day-night encounter, which finished before night set in, but James Neesham's five for 31 induced a collapse from which they never fully recovered.

Hashmatullah Shahidi's 59 was the top score in their 172 all out, a total that was overhauled with 17.5 overs to spare courtesy of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson's 79 not out.

"It was just a nice performance," Williamson said.

Neesham's five-wicket haul was his first in international cricket, three days after conceding 24 runs in two overs against Bangladesh.

Asked whether he attempted to raise Neesham's spirits, Williamson said: "I wish I could claim some of it.

"But no, I can't. He bowled beautifully. Look, it was a different surface and perhaps suited him a little bit more, someone that runs in, hits the wicket hard.

"And I think we saw it from both sides, the guys that did do that, that did get that bounce and a little bit of movement out of it.

"So he bowled some beautiful deliveries and broke a crucial partnership at the top of the order for us and deserves all the credit that he'll get for a five-for which is outstanding."

Updated: June 9, 2019 09:42 AM

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