Following on the heels of the damage done by Pakistan’s Shadab Khan, another 18 year old from the East has shown up in the Caribbean to torment the West Indies players.
Friday night he came in the form of Rashid Khan the leg spinner from Nangarhar which was bombed by America on April 15 this year. He put aside all his troubles to torment the regional batsmen who had no clue as how to play the leg-spinner. He grabbed seven wickets for 18 runs which was the fourth best haul in the history of ODI cricket to send the West Indies tumbling to 149 all out in response to Afghanistan’s 212/6. The 63-run win for Afghanistan was their first ODI success against the West Indies and their third against full members having defeated Bangladesh and Zimbabwe previously. The win brought joy to the faces of the players and would have stirred up great memories for the people on the streets of Kabul, who celebrated a similar success when their team defeated the West Indies at the 2016 World T20 in India.
The West Indies were handily placed at 68 for two when the IPL player was brought on in the 23rd over. Very soon the turned the game on its head, as he ripped out player after player much to the amazement of the small crowd at the Beausejour in St. Lucia. The only batsmen on the West Indies team to get into groove were wicketkeeper Shai Hope 35, opener Evin Lewis 21 and fast bowler Alzari Joseph with 27. Khan’s performance on the night was summed up beautifully in one ball he delivered to West Indies captain Jason Holder. The right hander facing his first ball stretched nicely forward down the pitch in an effort to smother the spin, covered everything or so he thought, only to hear the dreaded sound of timber falling behind him.
Earlier, West Indies bowlers kept the inexperienced Afghanistan outfit in check. Dynamic opener Javed Ahmadi was however intent on showing the regional outfit his prowess. With the pitch at the Beausejour drier than normal and the ball not coming on as it usually does, the right hander played a measured hand. Good deliveries were kept out and naughty ones were disciplined with strokes rolling to the boundary and some sailing over them. He took control of his team’s innings and although wickets were falling at the other end, he ensured that 87/3 did not mean a quick end. He left with the score at 131/5, having knocked 81 of 102 balls with eight fours and two sixes. The experienced Mohammad Nabi found an able partner in Gulbadin Naib and they added an unbroken 81 runs for the sixth wicket to take their team to their final score of 212/6. Nabi ended on 27 of 30 balls with two fours, while Naib scored 41 of 28 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Both teams return to the venue for the second match of the series starting at 2.30pm and the home team in the dumps currently will be looking to make amends and level the series.
WI vs Afghanistan
N Zadran c Hope b Holder 5
J Ahmadi c Hope b Cummins 81
R Shah c Carter b Gabriel 17
A Stanikzai lbw Nurse 2
M Nabi not out 27
A Zazai c Chase b Joseph 13
G Naib not out 41
Total for 6 wkts (50) 212
Fall of wkts: 13, 68, 87, 131, 131, 154.
Bowling: S Gabriel 8-2-21-1, J Holder 10-0-65-1, M Cummins 10-1-32-1, A Joseph 10-0-52-1, R Chase 2-0-8-0, A Nurse 10-1-34-2.
E Lewis c Hamza b Naib 21
K Powell lbw Zadran 2
S Hope c Nabi b Khan 35
J Mohammed c Nabi b Khan 7
R Chase lbw Khan 0
J Carter c Zafirullah b Zadran 19
J Holder b Khan 0
A Nurse b Khan 12
A Joseph lbw Khan 27
M Cummins b Khan 5
S Gabriel not out 2
Extras 2lb, 17w 19
Total all out (44.4) 149
Fall of wkts: 3, 41, 68, 68, 70, 70, 90, 135, 144, 149.
Bowling: D Zadran 8-1-25-2, M Nabi 10-0-34-0, A Hamza 9-0-28-0, G Naib 8-0-31-1, S Shenwari 1-0-11-0, R Khan 8.4-1-18-7.
Result: Afghanistan won by 63 runs.