Afghanistan National Cricket Team defeated the previously unbeaten West Indies at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier by three wickets in Harare on Thursday.
According to ICC, Afghanistan entered the Super Sixes stage of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier knowing they needed to win their next three matches to stand any chance of progressing to the main event next summer. The first stage of that mission is complete, after they defeated the West Indies.
The much-vaunted Afghan spinners were the architects of the victory, restricting their opponents to 197/8 on what looked a good batting track, with the teenage spinner Mujeeb Zadran (3/33) continuing his rapid rise to stardom, the ICC reported. Nonetheless, the Windies will feel they should have won the match, but ultimately paid the price for several dropped catches and missed run-out opportunities.
Despite the early loss of their openers, Afghanistan looked to have the run chase under control with Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi patiently compiling 49 for the fourth wicket to take them to 132/3, but Jason Holderís dismissal of the latter opened the door for the Windies. Nabi, sensing an opportunity to find a vital boundary, took on a short delivery from the Windies captain but Shimron Hetmyer dived forward to take a stunning catch at deep mid-wicket, ICC report says.
It was Holderís 100th ODI wicket, making him the fastest West Indian to reach the milestone of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs in the 50-over format.
West Indies further tightened the screw when Shah, who had batted so impressively for his 68 from 109 deliveries, played a loose cut stroke to Ashley Nurse and Keemo Paul took a simple catch at point. It left the match in the balance, with Afghanistan requiring 44 runs from 57 balls.
Najibullah Zadran partially eased the pressure by hitting 13 runs in Nurseís next over but then guided the ball into the hands of Nikita Miller at third man off the bowling of Paul (2/29), as the Afghans continued to suffer from poor shot selection.
Earlier in the day the Afghanistan spin attack, led by Mujeeb, had tied the Windies up in knots after Holder had won the toss and elected to bat.
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Mujeeb Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Afsar Zazai
West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.