LEEDS, July 4: Good batting display by all the top and middle-order batsmen except Chris Gayle and a good show with the ball by Kemar Roach and Carlos Brathwaite guided struggling West Indies beat Afghanistan by a narrow margin of 23 runs in a high scoring game to end their World Cup campaign on a winning note at Headingly, here today.
Earlier, batting first, West Indies after an early dismissal of struggling opening batsman, Chris Gayle, rode on a solid foundation given by Evin Lewis (58 off 78 balls) and Shai Hope (77 off 92 balls) to score a good total of 311 runs in 50 overs, losing 6 wickets in the process. Shimron Hetmyer scored brisk 39 off 31 balls, which was followed by power-packed knocks of (58 off 43 balls) by Nicholas Pooran and (45 off 34 balls) by skipper Jason Holder. Carlos Brathwaite’s 14 off 4 balls gave much needed impetus to the solid foundation of almost all the batsmen. From Afghanistan, medium pacer Dawlat Zadran, though remained expensive, took 2 wickets, while Sayed Shirzad, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan claimed one wicket apiece. In form Mujeeb Ur Rehman remained wicket-less.
In reply, Afghanistan lost their skipper Gulbaddin Naib early in the innings for 5 runs. However, a big partnership of 133 runs by Rehmat Shah (62) and Ikram Ali Khil (86) brought them back on track, which were followed by decent knocks of 31 and 40 by Najibullah Zadran and Asghar Afghan, before the trio of Kemar Roach (3/37), Carlos Brathwaite (4/63) and Oshane Thomas (1/43) ripped through the tail. Chris Gayle, who again failed with the bat also claimed one important wicket of dangerous looking Ikram Khil.
Meanwhile, having ‘definitely’ played in his last World Cup, big-hitting opener Chris Gayle regretted not being able to make the semifinals, but said he will be around to help West Indies cricket.
“It’s been a privilege and honour to represent West Indies in five World Cups, disappointed to end without making it to the final four. Lot has happened behind the scenes to get here and be here, that’s fantastic,” Gayle said after the match
The victory will hardly be any consolation for West Indies, who started the tournament on a high, but are going back with only two wins from nine games. (Agencies)
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