The West Indies completed a clean sweep of the One-Day International series against Afghanistan at Lucknow, winning all three games with ease.
Having already won the first two games, the Windies opted to rest their new ball duo, Jason Holder and Sheldon Cottrell. They handed a debut to batsman Brandon King and included all-rounder Keemo Paul in the line-up.
Afghanistan too had an opener making his debut in the game as 17-year-old Ibrahim Zadran replaced the misfiring Javed Ahmadi.
Half-centuries from Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi helped Afghanistan set a target of 250 after they were asked to bat first by Kieron Pollard.
The chase was anchored by a typical century from Shai Hope. The opening batsman stood firm despite losing Elwin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer by the third over and patiently constructed his knock.
He shared half-century partnerships with King, Nicholas Pooran and Pollard before Roston Chase joined him to complete the win with eight balls to spare.
Asghar’s rescue act
Hazratullah Zazai’s fighting half-century prevented the quicks from running through the top-order but once he fell in the 20th over, Afghanistan were staring down the barrel at 74 for four.
Asghar Afghan began the rebuild with a 44-run stand with Najibullah Zadran before Mohammad Nabi joined him at the crease. Alongside Nabi, Afghan added 127 runs in 122 deliveries for the sixth wicket to give the bowlers a reasonable target to defend.
His brilliant knock included three boundaries and six maximums and he fell 14 short of a well-deserved ton in the penultimate over of the innings. The ever-reliable Nabi followed up his useful knock in the previous game with an unbeaten fifty.
Keemo Paul and Roston Chase rule the middle overs.
Medium pacer Keemo Paul bowled a magnificent spell after the power play, picking up three wickets in seven overs for a mere 17 runs. On a slow pitch, Paul varied his pace and length to unsettle the batsmen.
Rahmat Shah was the first of Paul’s wickets as he pulled a short ball straight to square-leg. Paul castled wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Alikhil with a full delivery before claiming the prized scalp of the well-set Zazai with a slower ball.
Roston Chase was economical once again, picking up one for 24 in his ten overs.
Shai Hope’s match-winning ton
Opener Shai Hope became the fastest West Indian player to score seven ODI centuries, getting there in just 64 innings.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s twin strikes in the power play had the team in a spot of bother but Hope quashed all chances of a consolation victory for Afghanistan with a solid knock. He set up the chase beautifully, forging useful partnerships with the middle-order.
Afghanistan must have seen a glimmer of hope when skipper Kieron Pollard was dismissed with 68 runs required off 12 overs . However, Roston Chase batted with purpose and knocked off the remaining runs alongside the centurion.
Afghanistan have had horror run in the 50-over format, losing their twelfth game in a row as their opponents complete their first ODI whitewash in five years.
The two teams will next play in a three-match T20I series that begins on November 14.
Afghanistan – 249/7 (Afghan 86, Nabi 50; Paul 3-44 )
West Indies – 253/5 in 48.4 overs (Hope 109*, Chase 42; Mujeeb 2-49)
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