Nicholas Pooran struck a Man-of-the-Match half-century as West Indies defied an invasion of moths to brush aside Afghanistan by 47 runs in yesterday’s second One-Day International, and clinch their first series in five years.
The left-hander’s top score of 67 propelled West Indies to 247 for nine off their 50 overs at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium after they had been sent in by the hosts, as opener Evin Lewis extended his form with 54 and Shai Hope chipped in with 43.
West Indies then produced a clinical performance withn the ball, left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell (three for 29), off-spinner Roston Chase (three for 30) and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (three for 36) all claiming three wickets each to dismantle Afghanistan for 200 in the 46th over.
Najibullah Zadran top-scored with a breezy 56 down the order while Rahmat Shah struck 33 and Mohammad Nabi, 32, but the Afghans lost wickets steadily and failed to mount a serious run chase.
The victory gave West Indies a 2-0 lead in the series ahead of tomorrow’s final ODI at the same venue but more importantly handed them their first series win since they beat Bangladesh in the Caribbean back in 2014.
Looking to close out the series following their impressive seven-wicket win in last Wednesday’s opener, West Indies started strongly with Lewis and Hope putting on 98 for the first wicket.
The left-handed Lewis, with three half-centuries in his previous seven innings, counted six fours and a six off 75 deliveries while while Hope faced 77 balls and lashed five fours.
They raised the half-century stand in the 12th over with measured batting and Hope appeared en route to another 50 before missing a Rashid Khan googly and being adjudged lbw in the 25th over.
Lewis, who raised his seventh ODI half-century a few balls earlier in the same over, then perished in the 26th when he missed a sweep at off-spinner Javed Ahmadi and was bowled around his legs.
Left-hander Shimron Hetmyer kept West Indies ticking along with 34 off 43 deliveries with two fours and a six but he was one of four wickets to tumble for 45 runs – caught at long on off off-spinner Mohammad Nabi – as the innings declined to 182 for six in the 43rd over.
Pooran came to the rescue
However, Pooran came to his side’s rescue in an inning laced with seven fours and three sixes and requiring 50 balls, as he posted an invaluable 50 for the seventh wicket tih Romario Shepherd (six).
Pooran was eventually eighth out in the final over, holing out to long off off seamer Naveen-ulHaq (three for 60).
West Indies then struck early in the Afghan reply, when Javed Ahmadi failed to keep down a short ball and was caught and bowled by Cottrell off the fifth ball of the innings without scoring.
Two half-century stands then threatened West Indies. First, Rahmat Shah and Hazratullah Zazai (23) put on 53 for the second wicket, repairing the innings and laying the foundation for a later assault.
Rahmat Shah’s run out at the end of the 14th over after stroking four fours in a 54-ball knock, sparked a slide that saw four wickets fall for 55 runs, leaving Afghanistan on 109 five.
But Zadran and Nabi frustrated West Indies in a 68-run, sixth wicket stand, reviving the hosts’ hopes of victory.
Zadran struck seven fours and a six off 66 deliveries while Nabi gathered five fours in a brisk 38-ball outing but once the stand was broken in the 39th over, Afghanistan lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.