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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Shai Hope slams century as West Indies complete 3-0 whitewash against Afghanistan

Chasing 250 for a win, Hope, opening the innings, smashed three sixes and eight fours in his 145-ball 109 not out to help West Indies overhauled the target, scoring 253 for 5 in 48.4 overs.

cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2019 22:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Lucknow
Shai Hope (right) is being congratulated by Rolton Chase (left) on striking an unbeaten century on Monday.
Shai Hope (right) is being congratulated by Rolton Chase (left) on striking an unbeaten century on Monday.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
         

Opener Shai Hope smashed a sparkling unbeaten century to help two-time World Champions West Indies crush hosts Afghanistan by five wickets to make a clean sweep of the ODI series by 3-0, at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium here on Monday night.

Already having an unassailable 2-0 lead, West Indies always looked in total control while chasing 250 on a placid turf, and right-hander Hope made things easy for the side, hitting his seventh hundred in his 69th ODI in style before a moderate crowd, which even rooted for the hosts, who crossed the 200-run mark for the first time in the series on Monday.

Barbados’ Hope, who cut his 26th birthday cake only on Sunday, didn’t care much even team losing two quick wickets in the third over itself, and kept stroking the ball nicely around the long boundary. All four spinners in Afghanistan team, including one of the best in the world and skipper Rashid Khan looked almost helpless against Hope, who appeared too calculative in his shot selections.

In fact, Hope, who managed 77 and 43 in previous two games, built West Indies innings quite smartly especially when the side lost Evin Lewis (1) and Shimron Hetmyer (0) in between four deliveries off offie Mujeeb Ur-Rehman in innings third over.

A gutsy Hope started with a 64-run third-wicket stand with debutant Brandon King (39, 56b, 5x4, 1x6), who was the top run-getter in this year’s CPL back home, and then went on collecting 51-run for the fourth-wicket with Nicholas Pooran (21, 26b, 1x4, 1x6) and 63-run for the fifth-wicket with captain Kieron Pollard (32, 26b, 1x4, 1x6).

Hope’s 145-ball 109, which contained eight hits to the fence and three sixes, enjoyed yet another unbeaten 71-run sixth-wicket partnership with inform Rolton Chase (42*, 32b, 3x4) as West Indies romped home with eight balls to spare.

Determined for a white-wash in the series, Pollard chose to field first and it turned out to be a good toss to win for the side. After losing opener Ibrahim Zadran (2) quite early in the innings, Afghanistan kept losing wickets on regular intervals. Opener Hazratullah Zazai and Asghar Afghan raised 44-run for the fifth-wicket before Afghan and Mohammad Nabi stitching together a solid 127-run for the sixth-wicket, but their strike rate never went over five-run in an over before being restricted to 249/7.

Unlike in his previous two matches, Zazai played some eye-catching drives, hitting 59-ball 50, which contained seven fours and two sixes before being caught by Lewis off seamer Keemo Paul, who replaced Sheldon Cottrell in the match. Experienced Afghan kept the scoreboard ticking with a boundary off Hayden Walsh in the 17th over.

He along with Nabi looked almost set for team’s big total, but a disciplined West Indies bowling attack kept them in a tight check, bowling straight ones mostly. Afghan, who almost hit run-a-ball 86 in 85 balls with the help of three fours and six huge sixes, scored his 12th ODI half-century in his 111th match before being caught by Shepherd at short third man. Nabi remained unbeaten on 50, which came off 66 balls and was studded with three fours and a six.

Paul enjoyed his return to the side with 3/44, whereas fellow pacer Alzarri Joseph finished with 2/59. Now, the two teams lock horns in the three-match T20 series, starting Thursday at the same venue.

“We were just trying to be better in each and every game. There were more positives from us in today’s game and we had a chance to win the game as Asghar and Nabi really batted well, but we couldn’t,” Afghan skipper Rashid Khan quickly said after the match.

“We should have defended this total, but Hope played without giving us any chances. Now, we have to focus on doing the right things, and making the right decisions at the right time. T20 is all about enjoyment, and we have to keep enjoying, whether in batting, bowling or fielding. The results will take care of themselves.”

BRIEF SCORES

Afghanistan 249/7 in 50 overs (A Afghan 86, H Zazai 50, M Nabi 50*, N Zadran 30, K Paul 3/44, A Joseph 2/59) lost to West Indies S Hope 109*, R Chase 42*, B King 39, K Pollard 32, N Pooran 21, M Rehman 2/49).