Afghanistan crumble under pace barrage; WI clinch series
SUMMARY: West Indies 112 for 3 (Walton 29, Lewis 25) beat Afghanistan 93 (Williams 3-11, Brathwaite 2-26) by 29 runs (D/L method)
West Indies clinched the T20 series with a game to go, brushing Afghanistan aside for the second night in a row. With a combination of Samuel Badree’s discipline and the pace of Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams, the hosts struck thrice inside four overs in Afghanistan’s chase of 123, setting the tone for a comfortable defense.
The target was revised, adjusted to amplify West Indies’ 112 for 3 in 15 overs, after rain took away nearly two hours from the fixture. Evin Lewis and Marlon Samuels got starts after wicketkeeper-batsman Chadwick Walton had powered West Indies in the Powerplay. Rashid Khan, Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib, though, reversed the advantage with strong performances with the ball.
Afghanistan’s chase was a scattered display of anxiety against pace and hare-brained running – perhaps the two were correlated. They slipped to 19 for 3 quickly and the recovery never came. Captain Carlos Brathwaite, who had chipped away at the lower-middle order, took the final catch to notch up a series win.
Walton led the charge with four pulled boundaries as Afghanistan’s new-ball duo insisted on bowling short at him. Having forced the early introduction of Amir Hamza, Walton clubbed a full delivery from the left-arm spinner onto the roof over long-off.
A mix-up between the openers should have resulted in the run-out of Lewis, who responded slowly as Walton tried to pinch a single in front of square leg; it ended with a bad throw, as well as a bad collision at the non-strikers end when Lewis ran into Samiullah Shenwari. The resultant stoppage disturbed Walton’s momentum, and he holed out to long-on next ball. But when Lewis stepped out to Nabi immediately after to smash him over long-off, West Indies were destined for a solid start. They made 52 for 1 in the Powerplay.
West Indies looked like they had one plan against Rashid Khan – to play him out. By the time Ashgar Stanikzai brought the leg-spinner on, West Indies were cruising at 71 for 1 in eight overs. Rashid hit his signature line, at the stumps, and pushed them through quickly to cut out any heaves across the line. Both Lewis and Marlon Samuels prodded from the back foot with minimal impact; Rashid snuck in tidy figures of 2-0-4-0. In between his two overs, Lewis had holed out to deep midwicket.
After the match was reduced to 15 overs, Gulbadin Naib brought out a top spell, bowling seven dot balls in his two overs and going for just ten, with the wicket of Samuels.
Six-and-out, four-and-out, six-and-out. Naib, Noor Ali Zadran and Stanikzai finished their respective innings in similar fashion. It was an accurate representation of Afghanistan’s chase – a cycle of long periods of strangulation with the occasional release.
The chase started with a typically tight over from Badree, which went for only one. Taylor shared the new ball and chose to begin from around the wicket. His first short ball was met with a swipe across the line by Naib. What should have been a simple catch for Sunil Narine at long-off almost turned into a spectacular catch by Brathwaite running back from mid-on. Badree had Naib in the next over.
This was followed by a brutish over from Williams where the default shot was now set to awkward fend. Noor Ali didn’t conform, and for his rebellion he got a four before being cramped on a hook that lobbed up for short fine leg. Shenwari feathered one to Walton first ball. There was nearly a third wicket that over – but Mohammad Nabi’s glance off the hips landed short of Taylor. (ESPNCricinfo)