In a game that had no implications on the World Cup 2019 semi-finals line-up, West Indies defeated Afghanistan by 23 runs at Headingley, Leeds on Thursday to keep the latter winless in the tournament.
In a rematch of World Cup qualifier last year, West Indies had set a 312 target for Afghanistan, who had never scored above 300 in an ODI, but Afghanistan were all out for 288 to suffer their 8th defeat of the World Cup 2019.
In the mammoth chase, Afghanistan lost their skipper Gulbadin Naib in the second over. However, Rahmat Shah and Ikram Ali Khil played with composure to a build 133-run stand and bail Afghanistan out of a pressure situation.
Rahmat Shah brought up his maiden World Cup fifty off 57 balls, while Ikram Ali became the youngest to get an above 80 score in the history of World Cup to keep Afghanistan’s chase on track.
It was Carlos Brathwaite, who gave West Indies a crucial breakthrough and broke the well-looking partnership. Rahmat Shah (62) got a leading edge to hand an easy catch to Chris Gayle at short cover.
The game took a turn when West Indies claimed three wickets in 14 balls to create worries for Afghanistan. With his occasional offspin, Chris Gayle took the key wicket of Ikram Ali Khil, trapping him lbw for 86. Najibullah Zadran (31) was run out two balls later and Mohammad Nabi (2) then holed out in the deep off Kemar Roach.
Roach then picked his third wicket after dismissing Samiullah Shinwari for 6. As Afghanistan kept losing wickets, Asghar Afghan spent some time at the crease to keep Afghanistan alive in the chase but Jason Holder took a brilliant catch at the boundary rope to get rid of him for 40 off Carlos Brathwaite.
Brathwaite then also sent back Rashid Khan (9) and Dawlat Zadran (1) to get four wickets.
Earlier, young Nicholas Pooran and skipper Jason Holder provided the final flourish with a century plus stand as West Indies scored a respectable 311 for six in an inconsequential World Cup league stage encounter, here Thursday.
Pooran (58) and Holder (45) added 105 runs in 71 balls to take the total past 300-run mark.
This was after Shai Hope (77) and Evin Lewis (58) set the platform with an 88-run second wicket partnership.
For Afghanistan, seamer Dawlat Zadran was the most successful bowler but was hammered during the last few overs. He ended with figures of 2 for 73.
Afghan spin troika of Mujeeb ur Rahman (0/52), Mohammed Nabi (1/56) and Rashid Khan (1/52) were once again steady as the Caribbean batsmen couldn’t push the run-rate up during middle overs.
Hope and Lewis both hit six fours and two sixes each as they built a foundation after Chris Gayle’s early dismissal. Shimron Hetmyer (39) also got a start but was out after being set. He added 65 runs with Hope for the third wicket.
Hope and Hetmyer were out within 20 runs off each other and West Indies weren’t exactly comfortable at 192 for 4 in the 38th over.
But it was Pooran and Holder, who attacked the bowling during the last 10 overs.