Windies finished on a high in the World Cup, defeating Afghanistan in a hard-fought encounter. The clash at Headingley had everything in it but eventually, the extra runs which the Caribbean lads accumulated towards the end of their innings proved to be decisive as Afghanistan finished the tournament with no points after their name.
Chris Gayle hit a boundary in his final 18-ball stay in a World Cup game and was dismissed by Dawlat Zadran for a 7. Evin Lewis and Shai Hope had some trouble negotiating with the Afghan spinners, but they were determined to set a good platform for the batsmen to come in. Evin Lewis scored a half-century, his second in this World Cup.
Their partnership of 88 runs came to an end with the conclusion of Lewis’ gritty 58 off 78 balls. Shimron Hetmyer came in and played some attacking cricket to provide the required momentum for the innings. Hope completed his half-century in the meantime and kept watching Hetmyer go about his business. Their aggressive 65-run stand came to an end with Hetmyer bottling another good start.
Hope was dismissed soon after a 92-ball 77, which left a lot of responsibility on young Nicholas Pooran and skipper Jason Holder to provide a good finish. Pooran, who pulled his first ball for a boundary, continued his good form from the previous game. Jason Holder, who struggled a bit in his first 10-15 deliveries, found his rhythm soon and started striking it big.
Pooran completed his half-centuries courtesy some outstanding stroke-making and alongside the cameos from Holder and Brathwaite, they scored 80 runs in the final 6 overs to eventually register 311 runs for the loss of 6 wickets.
Ikram Ali Khil shines for the Afghans
Kemar Roach struck early blood for Windies by dismissing Gulbadin Naib at the beginning of the innings. Ikram Ali Khil and Rahmat Shah stitched a fantastic partnership to keep Afghanistan in the hunt, but they had to do some catch-up with the required rate. Jason Holder couldn’t do much at this point with the batsmen giving nothing away.
Rahmat Shah completed his half-century and Ikram Ali Khil soon scored his first fifty in ODI cricket. This partnership was threatening to take the game away, but Carlos Brathwaite finally came to the rescue and dismissed Rahmat Shah. Najibullah Zadran was sent up the order to provide some exploits and up the ante.
Zadran did get off to a good start, but he lost his set partner Ikram Ali, who also became the youngster to score 80-plus runs in a World Cup innings. Zadran soon lost his wicket via some horrendous miscommunication. Roach and Carlos Brathwaite picked up some quick wickets in the middle overs although Asghar Afghan kept slogging from the other end.
Afghan had no partnerships going on to support him and his resilience didn’t last for long as well. Once Brathwaite sent him back, Sayed Shirzad played some attractive strokes with just one wicket remaining, but the game was way too far from their reach.
Windies: 311/6 in 50 overs (Shai Hope 77, Nicholas Pooran 58, Jason Holder 45; Dawlat Zadran 2/73)
Afghanistan: 288 all out in 50 overs (Ikram Ali Khil 86, Rahmat Shah 62; Carlos Brathwaite 4/63, Kemar Roach 3/37)
Result: Windies won by 23 runs
Man of the match: Shai Hope
Here is the Points Table: