Afghanistan stun West Indies
NAGPUR – Afghanistan have been saying all tournament long they could beat a top side. They had come through a qualifying tournament in Ireland and beat every side in the first round and were ready to take on the big boys in the Super 10s.
And, on Sunday, Afghanistan kept their word alongside a date with destiny to topple the mighty West Indies in a Group 1 game of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 at the VCA Stadium.
It was the first time Afghanistan were meeting West Indies in any international contest. When they meet the next time, Afghanistan will be able to boast of a 100 per cent win record.
Put in to bat, Afghanistan struggled to 123 for 7, a top-order implosion meaning Najibullah Zadran’s sprightly 48 not out off 40 balls from No. 6 was needed to push the total along towards some respectability.
Najibullah would put his body on the line for a key moment in the final over too, running around from midwicket to dive and hold on to a Carlos Brathwaite power hit that decisively swung the game Afghanistan’s way.
West Indies ended their innings on 117 for 8, enough to still top the group on net run-rate, but not enough to avoid a six-run defeat.
That Chris Gayle – rested for this match – was missing should take no sheen away from Afghanistan’s magnificent feat.
They had given each of the other sides in the group a good run for their money, and having steadily improved with each outing, got the victory the entire squad was craving against arguably the strongest team in the group. (ICC/SAT)
Afghanistan 123 for 7 in 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 48 n.o., Mohammad Shahzad 24, Asghar Stanikzai 16; Samuel Badree 3-14, Andre Russell 2-23). West Indies 117 for 8 in 20 overs (Dwayne Bravo 28, Johnson Charles 22, Denesh Ramdin 18, Carlos Brathwaite 13, Andre Fletcher 11; Mohammad Nabi 2-26, Rashid Khan 2-26). Afghanistan won by six runs.