Afghanistan defeated West Indies by six runs in a thrilling contest at VCA Stadium in Nagpur, Sunday. With this victory Afghanistan registered their first win in the 2016 World T20, and have bowed out of the tournament with their heads held high as it was their last match of the competition.
Afghanistan, who played well against other teams such as England, South Africa and Sri Lanka earlier, played some brilliant cricket against West Indies as well. Though West Indies were expected to emerge victorious, Afghanistan bowlers bowled brilliantly to restrict West Indies to 117 runs while chasing 124 runs to win.
West Indies, who were without their star opener Chris Gayle, did not look too strong early on as they lost wickets at regular intervals. They scored 38 runs for the loss of three wickets, and to make it worse, Andre Fletcher did his hamstring, and was retired hurt in the sixth over. Though Fletcher came into bat later on, he could not help West Indies emerge triumphant.
Dwayne Bravo, with his experience of having played huge amount of international cricket, played smartly, scoring 28 runs. The right-hander scored runs all around the wicket, rotating the strike at will, which inched West Indies closer to the target, but Afghanistan got back into the game with his dismissal in the 14th over. West Indies' task looked uphill as they lost Dinesh Ramdin immediately as well.
Afghanistan, who had a spring in their stride with back-to-back wickets, gradually inched closer to victory as they dismissed Andre Russell and Darren Sammy in the 18th and 19th over respectively. Despite Chris Brathwaite's heroics in the latter stages, West Indies failed to cross the finishing line.
The credit for this win should go to the Afghanistan bowlers, who bowled brilliantly to the West Indies batsmen. Amir Hamza was one of their star bolwers, giving away nine runs in his four overs, taking one wicket. Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi took two wickets each. Their fielders also backed the bowlers superbly, saving some important runs in the field.
Earlier, Afghanistan's top order had failed with the bat. They lost five wickets for 56 runs. Mohammad Shahzad and captain Asghar Stanikzai scored 24 and 16 runs respectively. However, it was the innings of Najibullah Zadran, which played an important role in Afghanistan scoring 123 runs in their allotted 20 overs. Zadran scored 40-ball 48, comprising four fours and one massive six.
It was a well-deserved victory for Afghanistan, who showed plenty of energy and character in Nagpur to defeat West Indies.