WORLD T20: Record-breaking Pooran slams 98 as West Indies crush Afghanistan

SUMMARY: West Indies 218-5 from 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 98, Johnson Charles 43, Shai Hope 25, Rovman Powell 26; Gulbadin Naib 2-14, Naveen-ul-Haq 1-41, Azmatullah Omarzai 1-41) vs Afghanistan 114 all out from 16.2 overs (Ibrahim Zadran 38, Azmatullah Omarzai 23; Obed McCoy 3-14, Akeal Hosein 2-21, Gudakesh Motie 2-28, Andre Russell 1-17, Alzarri Joseph 1-30)

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The West Indies have firmly announced they’re a force to be reckoned with, as the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup came to an end on Monday night.

Having already secured qualification in the Super Eight stage, the co-hosts were chasing form and momentum against Afghanistan, another undefeated Group C team, in St. Lucia.

The West Indies put any lingering doubt surrounding their title claims, producing an eye-catching performance that had historians scrambling.

Rashid Khan won the toss and sent the West Indies in, targeting early breakthroughs at the run-happy Daren Sammy Cricket Ground venue. But there were ominous signs from the outset.

The West Indies start was truly jaw-dropping- it must be seen to be believed.

The second-over wicket of Brandon King (7 off 6) did little to halt the hosts’ momentum, as Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran both clicked into top gear, in the blink of an eye.

Charles struck three boundaries in the third over, which inspired Pooran to do something truly ‘out of this world’ at the change of ends.

The keeper-batter exploded, producing a 36-run over off Azmatullah Omarzai’s bowling (6, 5NB, 5WD, 0, 4LB, 4, 6, 6.)

It’s the fifth time in Men’s T20I history an over has gone for 36 runs, the second time at a Men’s World Cup. The final six of the Omarzai over saw the partnership reach 50.

The punishment continued, as the pair surged West Indies’ score to 92-1 at the six-over mark. It’s the biggest Powerplay total in Men’s T20 World Cup history.

All the records broken during West Indies’ stunning T20 World Cup innings

Highest T20 WC Team PowerPlay scores:
92 by West Indies vs Afghanistan (2024)
91 by Netherlands vs Ireland (2014)
89 by England vs South Africa (2016)
83 by South Africa vs England (2016)
82 by India vs Scotland (2021)

The highest total Afghanistan had conceded in the World Cup so far had been 95, against Papua New Guinea. The Windies cleared that at the 6.5 over mark.

Another boundary off the bat of Johnson Charles had the Windies click up to 100 from 7.4 overs, before the right-hander was dismissed to end the eighth over- crunching 43 off 27 balls. It ended an 80-run stand that took just six overs.

The hosts reached drinks at 113-2, eyeing off more batting history into the second half of the innings.

Shai Hope’s cameo (25 off 17) helped the run rate stay in double digits, as Pooran raised the bat in the 14th over- his 50 came off just 31 balls and it was his first half-century in a T20 World Cup.

Johnson Charles cracked 43 off 27 on his home ground (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

The boundaries had dried up, though, with none off overs 12, 13, 14 and 15. Afghanistan got the hosts’ run rate back down under 10, before Rovman Powell started finding his range- a six to start the 16th over took the Windies past the 150 mark.

Pooran found his groove again in the 17th over before cracking a picture-perfect 24 runs off the 18th- off the bowling of Rashid Khan, no less. Khan conceded 45 runs, without a wicket, from his four overs.

Powell sent one skyward, removed for 26 off 15, which finally brought Andre Russell to the crease in the 19th over. But his task was to try and get Pooran back on strike, who had a century in his sights- he started on strike in the final over 15 runs shy of three figures.

After a wide to start, he crunched the next two balls for six each, moving three runs shy. Pooran then guided one through cover before being run out, attempting to get back for the second. It took a sensational throw from Omarzai to remove him for 98 off 53 balls, the highest individual score of the tournament so far.

The West Indies finished with 218-5, their highest batting score in T20 World Cups and the biggest of the tournament so far.

Records to fall that innings:

  • Highest total of Men’s 2024 T20 World Cup
  • Highest individual innings of Men’s 2024 T20 World Cup
  • Highest Powerplay in Men’s T20 World Cup history
  • Highest total for West Indies in Men’s T20 World Cups
  • Equal most runs conceded in one over in Men’s T20 World Cup history
  • Second highest team total against Afghanistan in Men’s T20I history
  • Pooran overtook Chris Gayle for most sixes by West Indies player in Men’s T20I history
Akeal Hosein again struck early for the West Indies (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

Afghanistan knew it was straight to fifth gear if they were to be any chance of running down the hosts’ huge total. So a third-ball dismissal made matters worse as Rahmanullah Gurbaz (0 off 3) lobbed one straight to Russell.

Keeping calm, Gulbadin Naib and Ibrahim Zadran knuckled down and had Afghanistan emerge at 45-1 at the end of the Powerplay.

Gutakesh Motie struck next over, triggering a consistent run of wickets leading up the the innings midpoint, as the Afghans were 66-5 at drinks.

Karim Janat and Omarzai looked refreshed after drinks, both banging sixes in the 11th over. But when Omarzai was removed in the 13th over (23 off 19), the Windies enjoyed consistent success in the field from there.

Afghanistan was all out for 114, suffering their first defeat of the World Cup and pocketing some important findings before their second round tilt.

Winning by 104 runs, the West Indies enter the next phase of the tournament in world-beating form and will be a force to be reckoned with, as the pressure continues to build. (ICC)

 

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