Shai Hope’s 77 runs before a four-wicket haul by Carlos Brathwaite helped West Indies beat Afghanistan by 23 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup at Headingley on Thursday. Following their last league match of the World Cup, West Indies finished at the ninth position on the points table with five points from nine matches, while Afghanistan ended in the last place with zero points from nine fixtures.
Chasing a challenging target of 312, Afghanistan suffered an early hiccup as they lost their skipper Gulbadin Naib in the second over of the run-chase. Kemar Roach dismissed Naib cheaply for five. Rahmat Shah and Ikram Alikhil rebuild the innings as they formed a solid 133-run partnership. West Indies looked helpless and frustrated as they could not get a breakthrough. Finally, in the 27th over, the Caribbean side turned the tables of the match as Brathwaite dismissed Rahmat for 62.
Soon after Ikram Alikhil got leg-before off Chris Gayle for a well-compiled 86, leaving Afghanistan at 189/3 after 35.3 overs. An under-pressure Afghanistan could not carry forward the momentum set by its top order as Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shinwari were dismissed in quick succession. Brathwaite and Shimron Hetmyer combined to run out Najibullah Zadran (31), while Roach returned and removed Nabi (2) and Shinwari (6), reducing Afghanistan to 227/6.
Asghar Afghan and Rashid Khan put in all their efforts to change the fate of Afghanistan. However, Afghan (40) played an aerial shot and gave a simple catch to Jason Holder at long off on Brathwaite’s delivery. Dawlat Zadran (1) and Rashid Khan (9) were also sent back to the pavilion in quick succession. Towards the end, Sayed Shirzad hit two sixes and as many boundaries but on the last ball Oshane Thomas removed Shirzad (25) and Afghanistan folded on 288.
Earlier, Shai Hope powered West Indies to post 311 for the loss of six after electing to bat first. The Caribbean side suffered an early blow as Dawlat Zadran got big-hitter Chris Gayle caught behind cheaply for seven. The right-hander missed out on breaking former cricketer and compatriot Brian Lara’s record of highest run-scorer in West Indies’ final match at the 2019 edition.
Gayle entered the match against Afghanistan with 10331 runs in the ODI cricket. The 39-year-old was just 17 runs shy of surpassing Lara’s 10348 runs and become the highest run-scorer for West Indies. Now Gayle sits in the second place on West Indies highest run-scorer table with 10338 runs.
Evin Lewis and Shai Hope rebuild the innings and stitched an 88-run stand for the second wicket. Rashid Khan got a major breakthrough for Afghanistan as he dismissed Lewis for 58, reducing West Indies to 109/2. Shimron Hetmyer joined Hope and but the duo could not carry the momentum for long as Zadran returned to remove Hetmyer for 39.
Soon after Mohammad Nabi sent Hope back to the pavilion for 77, leaving West Indies at 192/4. Nicholas Pooran and his skipper Jason Holder formed a brilliant 105-run partnership in an attempt to take West Indies past 300-run mark. However, Ikram Alikhil and Sayed Shirzad combined and run out Pooran for 58, reducing West Indies to 297/5. Shirzad earned a pricey wicket of Holder (45) on the second ball of the final over.
The last three balls costed Afghanistan as Carlos Brathwaite hammered one six and two boundaries to post a competitive target. Brathwaite remained unbeaten on 14. For Afghanistan, Zadran was the pick of bowlers as he returned with two wickets in his nine overs.
Brief scores: West Indies 311/6 (Shai Hope 77, Nicholas Pooran 58, Dawlat Zadran 2-73) beat Afghanistan 288 (Ikram Alikhil 86, Ikram Alikhil 62, Carlos Brathwaite 4-63) by 23 runs.