The experience of West Indies prevailed in the battle of back benchers as they earned a 23-run win over Afghanistan, who had saved their best batting effort for their last World Cup encounter, here Thursday. The win 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. Batting first, West Indies scored 311 for six with fifties from Shai Hope (77), Evin Lewis (58) and Nicholas Pooran (50). In reply, Rahmat Shah (62 off 78 balls) and Ikram Alikhil (86 off 93 balls) shared 133 runs to put Afghanistan in good position before they were stopped at 288 with the last eight wickets going for 99 runs.
Kemar Roach (3/37) and Carlos Brathwaite (4/63 in 9 overs) provided the breakthroughs at crucial moments to avoid an upset, which looked imminent at one point of time.
While right-hander Rahmat was the more graceful as he found the gaps time times with ease
His chip-and-charge game, with his on-the-rise drive, was exciting to watch. He was airborne while playing the square cut and was not afraid to give the pacers a charge.
Afghanistan were cruising at 189 for two but Alikhil’s prized scalp was taken by veteran Chris Gayle and they went out of steam. Ashghar Afghan (40) and Najibullah Zadran (31) did their bit but it wasn’t enough in the end.