In less than 96 hours after they beat reigning World Champions England, Afghanistan got a solid reality check from a ruthless New Zealand, which recorded a thumping 149-run victory in a thoroughly one-sided World Cup match here on Wednesday.
As a result of this conquest, the Black Caps remain unbeaten in the event so far, taking the top spot again with its fourth straight victory.
Santner, Ferguson star with the ball
Chasing a tough target of 289 on a spinner-friendly wicket at Chepauk, Afghanistan could manage only 139 in 34.4 overs. The Afghans found Lockie Ferguson's (3/19 in 7 overs) pace too hot to handle and had no answers for Mitchell Santner's (3/39 in 7.4 overs) deliveries, which at times, turned a mile.
This was after triple half-centuries from Will Young (54), Tom Latham (68) and Glenn Phillips (71) ensured that New Zealand put up a winning total of 288/6 in 50 overs.
While chasing, Afghanistan were down to 43 for 3 by the 14th over, with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (8) being the third man to be dismissed, with Ferguson having his number.
Afghanistan batting collapse
Then, the pair of Rahmat Shah (36) and Azmatullah Omarzai (27) took brief control of the chase, putting on a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket.
However, the New Zealanders already had the upper hand, and with the ball turning, they hardly allowed them to score freely.
In the 26th over, pacer Trent Boult got the partnership broken, getting rid of Omarzai.
Thereon, the Afghans barely had any answers as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Phillips, Latham fire with the bat
Earlier, New Zealand recovered well from a mini mid-innings slump to post a commendable total. However, a total of five dropped catches did make things a bit hard for the Afghans, especially Rashid, who saw a couple of his chances go abegging.
Young , Latham and Phillips' half-centuries ensures that the Black Caps posted an above-par total on a track where stroke-making wasn't an easy proposition.
Phillips and Latham put on 144 invaluable runs for the fifth wicket and it could well prove to be a game-changer.