The West Indies claimed the lead in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan by clinching the opener at Lucknow by seven wickets.
What was touted as a run fest turned out to be a damp squib of a game as Afghanistan’s middle order collapsed and, during the chase, Shai Hope and Roston Chase blunted the opposition’s spin attack to help their team achieve the target with just three overs to spare.
Holder and Cottrell bowl incisive new ball spell
Jason Holder’s was impeccable with the new ball on Wednesday, hitting Glenn McGrath-esqe lines and lengths.
At the other end, Sheldon Cottrell attacked the stumps and had the opportunity to bring out the salute as early as the fifth over, when he castled Hazratullah Zazai with a pin point yorker on the base of leg-stump.
Holder too was rewarded for his consistency when Javed Ahmadi nicked a good length delivery to Nicholas Pooran at second slip.
Holder’s first spell read 6-2-9-1 and he later bowled his full quota of overs to finish with figures of two for 21.
Ikram Alikhil gets ahead of himself
The 19-year-old, who broke Sachin Tendulkar’s World Cup record for the highest individual score by a teenager earlier this year, started promisingly but gave his wicket away carelessly which triggered the batting collapse for Afghanistan.
After two early blows, Alikhil and Rahmat Shah batted admirably to steady the innings and improve the scoring rate.
The duo added 111 in 20 overs before the youngster’s poor batting allowed the Windies back into the game.
During the 27th over, the duo completed a single which brought up Shah’s fifty.
Alikhil, in his eagerness to congratulate his partner, started to walk towards him after completing the first run.
However, the ball wasn’t dead yet and, as he left the crease, Shai Hope removed the bails and appealed successfully for the run out.
His wicket triggered a sensational collapse as the remaining seven wickets fell for 68 runs.
Roston Chase’s all-round show
Off-spinner Roston Chase was excellent with the ball in the middle-overs, picking up the important wickets of Najibullah Zadran and Rahmat Shah.
He bowled wicket-to-wicket and made it impossible for the batsmen to attack in his ten over spell.
During the chase, the all-rounder showed his class as he masterfully steered his team to victory in the company of Shai Hope.
Chasing a tricky target against a wily Afghan spin attack, West Indies had a poor start, losing two wickets in the power play.
However, Chase walked in at No.4 to forge a 163-run stand with Hope to put the game beyond Afghanistan.
He was the more dominant batsman of the two, smashing 11 boundaries in his 113-ball stay at the crease.
However, he narrowly missed out on a ton as Mujeeb ur Rahman bowled him on 94.
Overall, it was a commendable performance from the West Indies and they would hope to build on from this performance when the two teams meet on Monday for the second ODI.
West Indies 197/3 (Chase 94, Hope 77*, Mujeeb 2-33)
Afghanistan 194 (Rahmat 61, Alikhil 58, Holder 2-21, Chase 2-31)
Know more about Sport360 Application