Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sloppy WI fall to Afghanistan…again


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HARARE -Sloppy West Indies were stunned by Afghanistan for the second time in the ICC World Cup qualifiers, as the Caribbean side slumped to a shock three-wicket defeat in their opening match of the all-important Super Sixes yesterday.

Unbeaten in the preliminaries, West Indies mustered an inadequate 197 for eight off their 50 overs, after electing to bat first at Harare Sports Club.

Shai Hope top-scored with a painstaking 43 off 94 balls without a single boundary while veteran Marlon Samuels chipped in with 36, captain Jason Holder, 28, and opener Evin Lewis, 27.

Sixteen-year-old off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, handed the new ball, admirably led the attack with three for 33 to claim Man Of The Match honours while Mohammad Nabi, also an off-spinner, ended with two for 43.

Having stumbled into the second round with just one victory in the preliminaries but with a win over the Windies in the official warm-ups, Afghanistan chased down their target with 14 balls remaining.

Rahmat Shah struck a composed 68 to spearhead the run chase while Mohammad Nabi completed a solid all-round performance with 31, but West Indies hurt themselves in the field with as many as four dropped catches.

Pacer Holder finished with three for 39 while debutant 20-year-old seamer Keemo Paul picked up two for 29.

The defeat left West Indies second in the standings, one point behind leaders Scotland on five and one ahead of hosts Zimbabwe. The two top after the full complement of matches will advance to the final and secure the remaining two berths at next year’s World Cup in England.

West Indies had a less than convincing start when superstar opener Chris Gayle (1) was comprehensively bowled, playing back to one from Mujeeb which spun past his defensive prod to remove off-stump, with 12 on the board in the fourth over.

However, Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer (15) steadied the innings with a 34-run second wicket stand.

Hetmyer never quite settled and eventually perished lbw in the 12th over, missing a forward defensive push, to give Mohammad Nabi his 100th One-Day International wicket.

And in the next over with just seven runs added, Samuels pushed to point for a sharp single and an ambling Lewis failed to beat Najibullah Zadran’s direct hit at the striker’s end.

Hope and Samuels put on a crucial but slow 55 (in 91 balls) for the fourth wicket.

After facing 64 balls and counting just two fours, Samuels attempted to jump-start the innings but succeeded only in picking out Gulbadin Naib running around to wide long-on off Mohammad Nabi in the 31st over.

Holder belted a couple of fours and a six in a 26-ball cameo as he added 50 for the fifth wicket with Hope. But the Windies were still scoring at under four an over at the end of the 40th, on 156 for four.

Holder chanced his hand and holed out to long-on off Mujeeb three balls later and Hope’s struggles finally ended in the 43rd when he was taken in the same position off the same bowler.

West Indies struck early, removing Javed Ahmadi (1) and Mohammad Shahzad (8) with just 17 runs on the board in the fifth over.

But Rahmat had a 66-run stand with Samiullah Shenwari (27) and added a further 49 with Mohammad Nabi. All told, he struck five fours and a six in a 109-ball stay at the crease.

Shenwari, meanwhile, faced 51 balls and counted two fours.

Captain Rashid Khan (13 not out) made the most of a reprieve to see his side home.


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