West Indies v Afghanistan, 2nd ODI, St Lucia June 11, 2017

West Indies survive Rashid scare to level series

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West Indies 138 for 6 (Hope 48*, Lewis 33, Rashid 3-26, Naib 2-15) beat Afghanistan 135 (Naib 51, Joseph 2-15, Gabriel 2-25) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Gulbadin Naib scored 51 and took two wickets © AFP

Stung by their 63-run defeat in the first ODI, West Indies hit back via their fast bowlers, who exposed Afghanistan's frailties against the short ball as they slid to 135 all out. West Indies' batting, though, isn't without frailties of its own, and Rashid Khan, responsible for bowling them out for 149 on Friday, caused yet another serious wobble with his zippy, stump-to-stump legbreaks and googlies. Afghanistan's total, though, proved a fair way short of matchwinning as Shai Hope held a shaky chase together and steered West Indies to a series-levelling four-wicket win.

Afghanistan could perhaps have pushed West Indies even closer with more aggressive tactics. Asghar Stanikzai, their captain, only brought Rashid on in the seventh over, by which time Evin Lewis and Kieran Powell had already knocked 37 off the target.

Rashid struck in his first over, getting Powell to nick a googly to slip, and went around the wicket in his third over to trap Lewis lbw with another perfectly pitched wrong 'un. This was high-quality bowling, and West Indies' batsmen, unsure of which way the ball would turn, were stabbing nervously at him with leaden feet. Stanikzai, though, took Rashid off the attack after only a five-over spell.

Gulbadin Naib, who had already made a sizeable contribution by scoring his third ODI fifty, then brought Afghanistan more cheer with his medium-pace, dismissing Jonathan Carter - who showed poor judgment while cutting - and Jason Mohammed - who failed to keep a cut down - in his first three overs.

With West Indies four down, Stanikzai brought Rashid back after only two overs from Amir Hamza. Hope and Roston Chase played out the legspinner's sixth and seventh overs, but he struck again with the last ball of his eighth, flighting it wide of off stump and inviting the drive. Dip deceived Chase into reaching for the ball, turn made him miss it, and all of that unbalanced him enough to drag him out of his crease. Afsar Zazai's lightning hands did the rest behind the stumps.

By then, though, West Indies only needed 38, and only needed one reasonable partnership. Hope and Rovman Powell provided that, and Jason Holder applied the necessary touch of urgency at the finish.

Apart from Naib's 51, there was little to cheer for Afghanistan when they batted, and their batsmen played no role in West Indies' only real moments of concern, with Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph spending brief spells off the field nursing injuries. Gabriel walked off four legal balls into his sixth over, clutching his left side, while Joseph hurt his ankle while stumbling over the advertising hoardings in a failed attempt to flick a hook from Rashid back into play.

Having chosen to bat once again, Afghanistan made a cautious start - Noor Ali Zadran shouldered arms to every ball of the sixth over, bowled by Holder - and moved to 21 for 0 in seven overs before the short ball found its first victim. Holder got one to lift towards Noor's helmet, and the batsman, fending awkwardly, popped back a return catch.

A mix-up at the end of the same over, which left Ahmadi and Rahmat Shah stranded at the same end, was quickly followed by Rahmat top-edging a hook off Gabriel to the fielder at long leg. Afghanistan had lost three wickets in 11 balls. Gabriel struck again in his next over, this time with a fuller length, the umpire ruling Samiullah Shenwari out lbw even though the ball seemed to be slanting down the leg side.

West Indies introduced Alzarri Joseph in the 13th over, and he immediately set about peppering Stanikzai and Nabi with bouncers. Neither survived the test. Stanikzai was unlucky to receive the ball of the innings, angled in wickedly and rising head-high while giving him no time to react.

Naib, expecting another short ball first up, ducked at what turned out to be a good-length delivery outside off. Exceedingly nervy at the start of his innings, he calmed down as Joseph, bowling a six-over spell, lost some of his sting, and West Indies called upon the offspin of Ashley Nurse and the gentle medium-pace of Rovman Powell.

Naib grew comfortable enough to launch a rare full ball from Joseph over the long-on boundary, but that aside, runs came in a trickle. Zazai crawled to 9 off 33 before stepping out and nicking Roston Chase to slip. Then Rashid, having top-edged a hook over deep backward square leg, fell trying a similar shot next ball, only managing a nick to the keeper.

Naib, looking to farm the strike, began finding the straight boundary with greater frequency, but couldn't keep the tail away from the strike entirely. Dawlat Zadran slogged Nurse to deep midwicket, and a couple of overs later Naib, having just reached his fifty, gave Nurse his second wicket, holing out to long-off.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on June 13, 2017, 22:57 GMT

    Afghanistan must make some changes and win this series which will make this very exciting for Afghans. go team Afghanistan

  • alvin16233494 on June 13, 2017, 20:48 GMT

    I am a long suffering West Indian fan. And in opinion the people that runs West Indies cricket is destined to destroy it, it does not matter what opposition you are playing against you pick your strongest team. No doubt the young guys are talented however the should have been some of the experience guys in the team to help the young players gain experience, Jason holder was always a wrong choice as captain and the selection committee don't have a clue to save West Indies cricket they all must go,

  • Ranga on June 13, 2017, 17:21 GMT

    @SWARZI: Afghanisthan may be lacking in quality. But that was the issue with New Zealand and Bangladesh as well when they first started. Afghans have Rashid Khan, a test quality spinner, Mohammed Nabi, a test quality all rounder. Their faster bowlers have real pace, which most young test sides don't possess. Their best hitter, Mohammed Shazad is not playing due to a ban. They were unfortunate to lose Hamid Hassan so quickly. The core of Khan, Hassan, Nabi, Shazad would have made them formidable. I have seen Stanikzai and Shenwari bat, and these guys are way better than some Bangladeshi batsmen in early 2000s. On helpful conditions I think they will be very competitive.

  • randolf on June 13, 2017, 7:31 GMT

    I see a lot of people clamoring for Afghanistan to be promoted from Associates status to full test membership. I can't believe they are serious, after looking at the batting display that's being exhibited by their batsmen. This WI team that they have beaten has not a single player of test match quality - maybe, with the exception of Shannon Gabriel and Roston Chase. So beating this WI team doesn't qualify the Afghans for any test status. Rashid Khan is only one man, and they need 11. The only "One-man-11" I have ever seen in cricket was the great Brian Lara, but he's the greatest ever - I am not sure if Rashid Khan can become a Brian Lara - that's an almost impossible standard for him to reach; and he would also need a little help from the guys with the timber in their hands.

  • yousuf3858336 on June 13, 2017, 5:31 GMT

    Looking forward to see some changes in the Afghan team's lineup for the series decider.

    Najeeb Zadran needs to be in the lineup coming in at number four or five instead of Samiullah Shenwari and Stanikzai needs to go lower in the order, perhaps at seven or eight and allow Rashid to bat ahead of him. Hashmatullah Shahidi can replace Afsar Zazai, who has been a disappointment thus far.

    Afghanistan can win this series and make their case for full membership. Good luck to Afghanistan.

  • cricfan7966822187 on June 13, 2017, 2:49 GMT

    West Indies team should have read , 1-E Lewis, 2-K Powell, 3-S Hetmyers 4-S Hope, 5-J Mohammed ,6-R Powell , 7-Holder, 8-Bishoo,9-Joseph ,10-R Beaton,11-S Gabriel

  • Keith on June 13, 2017, 0:55 GMT

    Afghanistan seem to be a team on the way up (although perhaps slowly).

    As for WI - they don't seem to be going anywhere. They certainly need a convincing win in the final match.

  • karimm1329628 on June 12, 2017, 18:15 GMT

    Luckily W Indies didn't lose Hope......

  • Ashraf Ashraf on June 12, 2017, 17:39 GMT

    Stanakzai, Shinwari, Karim janat are liability for the Afghan cricket team. They need to be replaced with solid players. I just don't understand why Najib is sidelined while he is a brilliant batsman. Stanakzai does not inspire his team nor leads from the front, therefore, he should resign and show some integrity and class just like Nabi did.

  • Dik on June 12, 2017, 16:04 GMT

    Looking at the scoreboard it looks like AFG made a mistake by not bowling G. Nabi more! After Rashid, it should've been Nabi with the chokehold. They went back to pace and gave the game away!

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