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40th Match, Group C (N), Gros Islet, June 17, 2024, ICC Men's T20 World Cup
(16.2/20 ov, T:219) 114

West Indies won by 104 runs

Player Of The Match
98 (53)
Cricinfo's MVP
106.53 ptsImpact List

Pooran 98, McCoy three-for blow Afghanistan away

West Indies score their highest total in a men's T20 World Cup match as they finished the group stage with a perfect record

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
Nicholas Pooran acknowledges the crowd after his blistering 98, West Indies vs Afghanistan, T20 World Cup, St Lucia, June 17, 2024

Nicholas Pooran acknowledges the crowd after his blistering 98  •  AFP/Getty Images

West Indies 218 for 5 (Pooran 98, Charles 43, Naib 2-14) beat Afghanistan 114 (Ibrahim 38, McCoy 3-14) by 104 runs
It's been a World Cup for the bowlers, but Nicholas Pooran set the tone early for a dominant batting display from West Indies as they thrashed Afghanistan to finish the group stage with a perfect record. He tore into Azmatullah Omarzai in the powerplay, who leaked a world record 36 runs in an over. And that was a blow Afghanistan never quite recovered from.
Pooran's 98 off just 53 balls helped West Indies to 218 for 5, which was 104 too many for Afghanistan in the last group match of the T20 World Cup 2024. The result had little bearing on the Super Eight seedings that were pre-decided with both teams already cementing their spots. Afghanistan were blown away in the chase to be dismissed for 114, with all the five bowlers the hosts used sharing the spoils.
It was the highest total for West Indies in men's T20 World Cups, and Pooran, who hit eight sixes in his stay, surpassed Chris Gayle to become the leading six-hitter for them in T20Is.

Edgy Charles sets the tone

He has a stand named after him at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, and Johnson Charles did not disappoint. He had two ducks and a 44 heading into the game, and understandably, was tentative at the start of his innings. Yet he started with a flurry of fours, mostly via outside edges - beating short third to either side in the second over and then getting one over point in the third.
Anything with pace, he confidently dealt with. However, Naveen-ul-Haq's change of pace was too much to contend with, and he chipped one to cover after a duel that saw a dropped chance.

Powerful Pooran raises decibels

Two balls were all Pooran needed to get his eyes in on a belter of a pitch in Gros Islet. He signaled his arrival with a record 36-run over against Azmatullah Omarzai, in which he hit three sixes and two fours, including one off a no-ball. Afghanistan generally turn to Mujeeb Ur Rahman for control in the powerplay. But with him out injured, Rashid Khan had to bring himself on in the powerplay for the first time this T20 World Cup. He was welcomed with a couple of fours as West Indies finished the powerplay on 92 for 1, the highest score in the first six overs in men's T20 World Cups.

Afghanistan rein West Indies in in the middle overs

At 85 for 1 in five overs, West Indies looked set to bring back a template we were so used to in IPL 2024 - scores around and over 250. But Rashid and his spin-twin Noor Ahmad used the slight purchase from the surface to tie the batters down. Both varied the legbreak and googly, and also the lengths to keep the batters guessing. The bounce from the surface also came to their aid. As a result, only one four and three sixes - two of them by Shai Hope against Mohammad Nabi - came in the middle phase (overs 7 to 16), where West Indies scored only 66 and lost two wickets.

Deserving Pooran misses out on ton

The 17th over almost woke up the sleeping giant Pooran, who got his first four since the powerplay when Gulbadin Naib misfielded one at sweeper cover. He then tore into Rashid, who had figures of 0 for 21 heading into his last over, in the 18th. Pooran stayed deep in the crease and often cleared his front leg in a bid to convert the good length deliveries that Rashid generally bowls.
Pooran's leg side was the longer boundary, and Rashid bowling full only helped his cause. He struck three sixes and a four in the over to take 24 off it, decisively turning the tide in the hosts' favour. He couldn't do much damage to Naib, who bowled a couple of superb overs for two wickets, using the slower ones to trick the batters. When Pooran clobbered back-to-back sixes in the last over off Naveen, he looked primed to get to a century, only to be denied by a direct throw from Omarzai from deep cover.

Afghanistan no match in the chase

Coming into the match, Afghanistan's middle order (Nos. 3 to 6) averaged a mere 19.71 with the openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran doing the heavy-lifting in the big wins against New Zealand and Uganda. Gurbaz fell early trying to take on powerplay enforcer Akeal Hosein, exposing the Afghanistan middle order in a tall chase.
Ibrahim managed to punish an erring Alzarri Joseph, hitting him for one four and two sixes in the first six overs. He also managed to get a few away from Hosein but could not keep down a languid flick off Obed McCoy - brought in for Romario Shepherd, who was home for the birth of his second child - to deep backward square leg.
Playing his first match in this T20 World Cup, McCoy then dismissed Najibullah Zadran a couple of balls later before knocking Nabi over to reduce Afghanistan to 63 for 5 inside the tenth over. Omarzai managed to strike a few lusty blows but Hosein, Gudakesh Motie and Andre Russell never let them get away.
As a result, West Indies registered their second-biggest win in T20 World Cups (by runs) and head into the Super Eight stage with a clean slate, as if to say, "talk now!"

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

Win Probability
WI 100%
100%50%100%WI InningsAFG Innings

Over 17 • AFG 114/10

Rashid Khan c Powell b Russell 18 (11b 2x4 1x6 18m) SR: 163.63
West Indies won by 104 runs
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