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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

West Indies down Afghanistan, win first ODI series for five years

West Indies players perhaps faced their biggest test when moths descended in the evening under the floodlights, forcing the fielders to wear masks.

cricket Updated: Nov 09, 2019 23:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Lucknow
West Indies players celebrate after defeating Afghanistan during their 1st ODI cricket match at Ekana International cricket stadium, Lucknow.
West Indies players celebrate after defeating Afghanistan during their 1st ODI cricket match at Ekana International cricket stadium, Lucknow.(PTI)
         

West Indies defeated Afghanistan by 47 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series—registering their first ODI series win in five years—at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Ekana Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.

Afghanistan, playing at their new ‘home’ venue, restricted the Windies to 247/9 in 50 overs, but made a hash of the chase as West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell and off-spinner Roston Chase did most of the damage, sharing six wickets. Afghanistan were 200 all out in 45.4 overs.

West Indies players perhaps faced their biggest test when moths descended in the evening under the floodlights, forcing the fielders to wear masks.

Put in to bat by Afghanistan, openers Shai Hope and Evin Lewis gave a sound start by raising a 98-run partnership. Hope (43- 77b, 5x4) became the only victim of leggie Rashid Khan in the series after being trapped leg before while playing on the back foot. Lewis was bowled by off-spinner Javed Ahmadi but only after completing his sixth ODI half-century (54 - 75b, 6x4, 1x6).

Having won the first ODI by seven wickets, West Indies batsmen played shots all around the ground. Shimron Hetmyer (34 - 43b, 2x4, 1x6) played aggressively but the Windies batting revolved around Nicholas Pooran, who looked in tremendous form while top-scoring with 67.

After losing captain Keiron Pollard (3), young Pooran took control, hitting a 50-ball 67 that contained seven fours and three sixes, one of which landed on the third umpire’s room. Naveen-ul-Haq, the 20-year-old pacer, was the pick of the Afghan bowlers, surprising the Caribbeans with his slower ones to claim 3/60.

In their reply, Afghanistan lost opener Javed Ahmadi in the first over. Hazratullah Zazai (23 - 30b, 1x4) and Rahmat Shah (33- 54b, 4x4) batted sensibly to put on a 53-run partnership for the second wicket, raising hopes of Afghanistan giving West Indies a fight on a sporting pitch.

But Shah’s suicidal run out in the 14th over slowed down the chase. In the very next over, Zazai, who had hit a six off Chase’s previous delivery, gave an easy catch to Sheldon Cottrell at long-on.

Najibullah Zadran along with Mohammad Nabi tried to rescue the innings, adding 69 runs for the sixth wicket, but it was in vain.

Zadran struck a 66-ball 56 (7x4) before he was caught by Nicholas Pooran deputising as ‘keeper, off Cottrell. Nabi made 32 off 38 balls with five fours before he was trapped leg before by leg-spinner Hayden Walsh.

Skipper Rashid Khan again failed with the bat, stumped by Pooran off Walsh for two, after being dismissed for nought in the first game.

The final ODI will be played here on Monday.