West Indies v Afghanistan, 1st T20I, Basseterre June 2, 2017

Reckless batting snaps Afghanistan's winning streak


West Indies 114 for 4 (Samuels 35, Shapoor 2-30) beat Afghanistan 110 (Rashid 33, Hamza 21, Narine 3-11) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Marlon Samuels steered West Indies' chase with 35 © AFP

A breakneck approach with the bat, that saw no improvisation as the innings worsened, ended Afghanistan's record 11-match winning streak and sent them tumbling to a six-wicket loss in the series opener against West Indies at Warner Park. After choosing to bat first on a slightly two-paced surface, Afghanistan threw their bats at the ball and subsequently their wickets. They were reduced to 58 for 8 by the 14th over, and were staring at their lowest total in T20 internationals. Rashid Khan, coming off a productive, maiden IPL stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Amir Hamza, however, dragged the side to 110.

Afghanistan had defended a similar total against West Indies in the World T20 in India last year - which marked the beginning of their golden run - and more recently in the tour match against West Indies Cricket Board President's XI on Tuesday. But Marlon Samuels' stylish 35 ensured the hosts cantered home with 21 balls to spare.

Swinging like millionaires, collapsing like paupers
Gulbadin Naib started the innings with a violent triptych off fast bowler James Taylor: a flick over square leg, a pull over the same region, and a swipe over midwicket. The other five balls he played out were all dots, including a non-turning legbreak from Samuel Badree, which snuck through his defences. His boundary-or-nothing innings, perhaps, was a sign of things to follow.

Naib's opening partner, Usman Ghani, was the victim of a farcical mix-up, where he and Asghar Stanikzai were at the striker's end. Four balls later, the Afghanistan captain pulled hard at a sharp bouncer, and only spliced a return catch. The visitors, though, kept swinging. Karim Janat dared to back away outside leg and slap Badree through the covers for four. A wild leg-side mow at Carlos Brathwaite, though, resulted in a top edge to Chadwick Walton, the wicketkeeper. Forty-two for 4 became 46 for 5 when Nabi recklessly slashed a catch to third man. Sunil Narine's triple-strike then left Afghanistan in serious danger of being dismissed for their lowest total in T20Is. They had been skittled for 72 against Bangladesh in the 2014 World T20.

Saving face
Rashid and Hamza then knocked the balls along the ground as Afghanistan recalibrated their strategy. Badree, Brathwaite, and Taylor were all milked for ones and twos. The two spinners later cut loose in the last two overs of the innings, which yielded 32 runs. The highlights included a flat-batted swat over long-off and a short-arm jab over wide long-on. On another night, such an onslaught could have saved the day for Afghanistan. On Saturday, it only helped them save face.

A regulation chase
Walton and Evin Lewis made early inroads into the slim chase, adding 33 in only 3.3 overs. Unlike the Afghanistan batsmen, they held their shape and picked their areas. Shapoor Zadran, the only front-line fast-bowling option for Afghanistan, conceded two fours off the first two balls of the chase. Lewis then launched him over mid-off for a six. Nabi and Hamza weren't spared either. Rashid, though, held his own with the ball as well, finishing with 1 for 14 in his four-over spell, which contained 18 dots.

Samuels, who was cold in his stint with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, blew hot. He announced his arrival with a massive six over long-on, which flew out of the ground. He continued to time the ball exquisitely before being bowled by Shapoor with West Indies 12 away from victory. Jason Mohammed and Rovman Powell, picked in place of an ill Kieron Pollard, completed the formalities.

West Indies may be a fading ODI force, failing to qualify for the Champions Trophy in England, but they reminded Afghanistan and the rest of the world that they are still the bosses in T20 cricket.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zahid_roar_of_tigers on June 4, 2017, 3:33 GMT

    @ CRICFAN06128580: We understand your pain. We understand why did you say such ludicrous thing. Dont get so much jealous bro. Pakistan is doing really good. See, they are still ahead of Mighty West Indies & Enterprising Afghanistan in ODIs and have the opportunity to play against India. Thats a great achievement for Pakistan. If they would not qualify for the tournament, they probably had to wait for a decade to beg for getting a chance to play against India.

  • Cricinfouser on June 3, 2017, 22:37 GMT

    Afghanistan is fighting and West Indies are crumbling remember the line of the commentators during t20 world cup Afg is a fighting teaming they will bounce back

  • Daisycric on June 3, 2017, 18:40 GMT

    Afgan play with big boys and result is there for every one to see. some people were sugesting test status for afgan team. guess they have to wait another 10 years.

  • cricfan7000601657 on June 3, 2017, 16:41 GMT

    Sometimes when the small teams gets victory against the big teams,t hat has happened with Afghanistan.Isnt not the sign of professionalism.look at our Bangladesh.we does not think Ireland to a poor team.you doesn't forgot that kenya was beat west Indies in ICC world cup.k Kenya was beaten the best ever site of West Indies.

  • Johnny865 on June 3, 2017, 15:48 GMT

    the problem with the wi isn't the fact that they have gotten poor it simply is the administrators and the people in power wants their way or no way. so in other words once the wicb doesn't have their way with the players then none would be selected. can wi really afford to have dwayne bravo, Darren bravo, and re Russell, sunil narine, Chris gayle sitting on the sidelines while the new blood players are struggling to be competitive against the lower ranked teams, simply ridiculous.....

  •   Usman Ahmed Siddiqui on June 3, 2017, 15:07 GMT

    i think WI need to play more and more against AFG, IRL ansd ZIm to regain some form and make some combination in batting and bowling.

  • SABD on June 3, 2017, 15:03 GMT

    A strong Afhganistan is welcome for the cricket. However, overhyping there performances is doing their development no justice. Although it by no means Afghanistan's fault that they do not get to play the big boys much, "Winning streaks" against Oman and USA are hardly worth mentioning. All it does is exposes how flawed the ICC's ranking system is when it comes to taking opposition strength into account.

  • doosra-sheru on June 3, 2017, 13:41 GMT

    @RAMSLAM92 WHOA......man ...sorry for me? You should feel sorry for WI .....lol..... All I said was that I wished something special from Afghan. Yes Afghan lost the match but did you see the pathetic performance of the WI team? While Top notch (except Bangla) are competing in the elite group WI is fighting a "hit and blush" format with an associate team to compensate and probably keep the mind of their attritional fans twiddling their thumbs on something . That name that you mentioned made a big career name based on dubious bowling action until ICC belatedly caught him . Now the worlds batsmen has found him out so he is trying to be a pinch hitter. Lol. Cheers man ....Go and review Amla ' s innings today

  • adreanal on June 3, 2017, 12:17 GMT

    Is Simmons for real? What kind of shot was that? These guys do not play with the same commitment for West Indies as they play for the IPL. Did Jerome Taylor practice enough to play for the team now? Plenty un-answered questions here!!! Good Luck WI - stay strong and win all these matches.

  • cricfan4518562489 on June 3, 2017, 11:21 GMT

    wi win yes, but embarrassing. Be good and play with the big boys.

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