Afghanistan ended their impressive World Twenty20 campaign with a bang, upsetting the West Indies by six runs in a group phase match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium here on Sunday.
Afghanistan struggled to reach 123/7 after being sent in by the West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, but a determined bowling and fielding effort helped them restrict the opponents to 117/8.
It was the Asian country’s first win in the tournament, in their fourth and final group match, after coming close on earlier matches.
The win didn’t change the dynamics of the Group 1 though with the already qualified West Indies retaining their top status with six points from four matches.
The West Indies were high on form, winning all their previous three matches to qualify for the semi-finals.
And they were expected to stroll to the 124-run target but the absence of their blockbuster batsman Chris Gayle and losing wickets at regular intervals saw them crash to a shocking defeat.
The outcome also showed the improvement Afghanistan has undergone as a side with former skipper and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi (2/26) leading an unified effort on the field. Leg-spinner Rashid (2/26) also chipped in.
They exposed the inexperience of the West Indies batsmen in the run chase, where veteran Dwayne Bravo (28) was the most successful.
Earlier, Najibullah Zadran (48 not out) guided Afghanistan to 123/7 after leg-spinner Samuel Badree (3/14) ran through the top order, while Andre Russell (2/23), Darren Sammy (1/17 ) and Suleiman Benn (1/18) also chipped in.
Badree’s devastating opening spell left the Afghans struggling at 52/4 in the 10th over before Najibullah then took the matters in hand, hitting four fours and a six during his 40-ball knock.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 123/7 (Najibullah Zadran not out 48, Samuel Badree 3/14) beat West Indies 117/8 (Dwayne Bravo 28, Mohammad Nabi 2/26).