Daniel Vettori produced another spin-bowling masterclass as New Zealand beat Afghanistan by six wickets to tighten their grip on top spot in World Cup Pool A.
Vettori took 4-18 from an outstanding 10 overs of twirl, moving past 300 one-day international wickets in the process, as the Black Caps bowled out the associate nation for 186.
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum then biffed a 19-ball 42 to help the co-hosts reach their target in 36.1 overs, McCullum’s opening partner Martin Guptill (57 from 76 balls) also among the runs.
The Kiwis’ triumph was their fifth in as many matches at the World Cup, but Afghanistan’s slim hopes of making the quarter-finals are now over after their fourth defeat of the group stage.
Mohammad Nabi’s side dug in at McLean Park, though, as a score in excess of 150 looked unlikely when they slipped to 6-2 and then 59-6 after winning the toss and electing to bat.
Black Caps left-armer Trent Boult (3-34) trapped Javed Ahmadi (1) lbw before Vettori bowled Afghanistan’s other opener, Usman Ghani, for a third-ball duck.
Boult’s seam accounted for Ashgar Stanikzai (9) and when Vettori spun out Nowroz Mangal (27) to reach the 300-wicket milestone - the first man from New Zealand to achieve the feat - and then sent Nabi (6) and Afsar Zazai (0) back into the shed with Afghanistan reeling.
However, Najibullah Zadran (56) and Samiullah Shenwari (54) shared a stand of 86 for the seventh wicket – Zadran smoking two maximums and eight fours in his run-a-ball innings – as the Pool A outsiders gave themselves something to defend.
New Zealand, though, raced out of the traps thanks to McCullum and Guptill, the captain clubbing six fours and a maximum in scenes mildly reminiscent of his assault on England’s bowlers in Wellington two weeks ago.
The 33-year-old eventually went for one hoick too many, bottom-edging Nabi onto his stumps, but Guptill’s more measured knock, combined with cameos from Kane Williamson (33), Ross Taylor (24) and Grant Elliott (19) saw the Black Caps home with 83 balls to spare.
Daniel Vettori: "We're just looking to win games, regardless of the situation. I think it's important we keep thinking that way, because if we get caught up in working through a checklist in what's right and what's wrong it's not going to work.
"You can't sit back and say a team is in form or hasn't played well because you have to go into it thinking the team will play their best. All the teams that eventually make it (to the quarter-finals) have got match winners."
Afghanistan coach Andy Moles: "In the associate world, our bowlers are bullies. They're fast, they're nasty but with the full members they're not bullies. There are plenty of bowlers in the full members who are around 150km per hour.
"So they have to understand the level they're at and while they have got high skill, they need to apply themselves for longer rather than think they're going to blast people out."
Watch highlights of New Zealand's game with Afghanistan throughout the day on Sky Sports World Cup and with Hindi commentary on Zee Cinema (channel 790).