Cape Town - Morale is still high in the Afghanistan camp despite a third consecutive defeat, according to Gulbadin Naib, with the skipper insisting one strong performance could turn their World Cup around.
Afghanistan are currently bottom of the table with three losses from three games after going down by seven wickets to a professional New Zealand performance in Taunton.
Batting first, openers Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai set a promising platform with a 66-run stand but once Jimmy Neesham broke the partnership, the wheels came off somewhat.
Neesham took his maiden ODI five-for as the Afghans collapsed to 172 all out and despite losing Martin Guptill to the first ball of the innings, the Black Caps then comfortably knocked off the runs with 17.5 overs to spare – paced by captain Kane Williamson’s unbeaten 79.
But despite another setback following the losses to Australia and Sri Lanka, Gulbadin is confident brighter times are just around the corner.
“Morale is still high for us. We just need one good match and hopefully we can do that," said the skipper.
“We need some momentum – our start on the batting was a good thing.
"The start of our bowling was also good. Aftab Alam and Hamid Hassan did well.
“We have played three games and we’re trying to put our best on the ground.
"Every player is trying to do his best but it’s tough cricket, tough teams. You don’t get many chances.
"Teams don’t go easy for Afghanistan. It’s very hard. When we did well at the start of the innings, we then collapsed in the middle.
"If you’re losing matches, it can be difficult in the dressing room but I know my team-mates – we’re not losing one-sided matches, we just need one good match.
"I know how my boys are playing – we’ve played some good cricket over the last year, so we’ll try our best again."
In the two matches in which they have batted first at the World Cup, Afghanistan have been bowled out in 38.2 and 41.1 overs, while they failed to chase down 187 in the other.
Against New Zealand, nine of the 10 wickets were out caught – often to careless shots – and Gulbadin knows his team must be more disciplined with the bat.
"Our shot selection wasn’t good," he explained. “The wicket for really good for the seamers and there were some rain showers, so the ball was kicking.
“But we threw away some wickets with some bad shots. If we played our 50 overs, maybe the score would have been better.
“We started really well at the start of the innings with a 60 partnership. I always say we need more small partnerships but we missed out.
“The most important thing on the batting side is playing your 50 overs and putting a good total on the board."