Marlon Samuels (89 not out off 66 balls) toyed with the Afghanistan bowling to help West Indies complete a dominating T20I series sweep over the visitors with a comfortable seven-wicket win in the third and final fixture at the Warner Park in St Kitts on Monday (June 5).
Afghanistan came into the fixture on the back of disappointing batting performances and the trend continued. There were a couple of good efforts but scattered too far apart to create a sizeable impact. Samuel Badree sent opener Javed Ahmedi packing for a second-ball duck in the second over, but Noor Ali Zadran gave a sense of purpose to Afghanistan’s innings. His stay in the middle consisted five fours and two sixes but lasted only until the fifth over, when he was cleaned up by Keserick Williams for a 19-ball 35. Captain Asghar Stanikzai too fell cheaply, putting Afghanistan in a bit of quandry.
Karim Janat was content at hogging the non-striker’s end during his 39-run stand with Mohammad Nabi, as the former skipper looked set to resurrect Afghanistan’s essay. He sent two deliveries soaring over the roof at long on, clearly meaning business. But unlike his shots, his innings too didn’t go the desired distance. Nabi fell for a 30-ball 38 in the 15th over, leaving his side exposed to a possible collapse.
Shamiullah Shenwari’s 15-ball 25 prevented that as he dragged Afghanistan to 146 for 6 in 20 overs – a total that was clearly sub-par.
Like West Indies, Afghanistan too struck early and sent an opener back for a duck, but that had very little impact on the turn of events. If anything, it only strengthened West Indies as Samuels arrived and took complete control of the chase. Evin Lewis spent 22 balls in the middle for his 19, but more importantly kept turning the strike over to Samuels in their 61-run partnership for the second wicket. Lewis fell at the halfway stage of the chase but that too didn’t throw West Indies off course. Rashid Khan cut short Lendl Simmons’s stay at crease but Samuels’s determed knock meant Afghanistan never had a shot at defending their total.
Samuels finished with an unbeaten 89 off 66 balls, an essay laced with nine fours and three sixes as West Indies completed their win with seven wickets and four balls to spare.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 146/6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 38, Noor Ali Zadran 35; Keserick Williams 3-34) lost to West Indies 147/3 in 19.2 overs (Marlon Samuels 89*; Rashid Khan 1-22) by seven wickets.