Basseterre (St Kitts and Nevis): Another abject batting display by Afghanistan paved the way for the West Indies to complete a series-clinching 29-run win on the Duckworth Lewis System (DLS) in the rain-affected second fixture of the three-match T20 International series at Warner Park in St Kitts on Saturday.
Set a revised target of 123 after the hosts were limited to 112 for three in a match reduced to 15 overs per side, the Afghans were routed for just 93 off 13.3 overs with fast bowler Kesrick Williams leading the demolition with figures of three for 11 to take the “Man of the Match” award.
A day after being restricted to 110 all out off 20 overs on the way to a six-wicket defeat, this effort did little to enhance the visitors' claims to be elevated to the ranks of the Test-playing nations.
They now face the prospect of being whitewashed in the T20 series going into the final match at the same venue on Monday and look set to suffer the same fate in the three One-Day Internationals which follow in St Lucia.
Karim Janat topscored with 20 as the wickets tumbled around him. As in the first match, much of Afghanistan’s misery was self-inflicted through a series of poor shots compounded by a lack of understanding in the middle which saw two run outs contributing to the ignominious slide to defeat.
At one stage they had crashed to 55 for eight before Janat and the last two in the batting line-up delayed the inevitable, the match concluding when West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite took the catch that ended Janat’s resistance and give Williams his best figures in T20 Internationals.
"I just give it everything on this pitch," said Williams after the match. "I just knew if I bowled with pace in the right areas success would come my way."
Brathwaite chipped in with two wickets and was especially pleased to complete a second consecutive win in challenging circumstances after the West Indies innings was interrupted after 11 overs by heavy, sustained showers which held up play for almost two hours.
"It’s difficult to be switching on and off when there are interruptions like that and I’m glad that we were able to stay focused through it all," he explained. "Now we have to keep in mind that the job isn’t finished as yet because we want to get another win on Monday."
West Indies were 79 for two off 11 overs when the rains came with an intensity that raised fears of an abandonment. However they eventually relented and the hosts managed to get another 33 runs off the remaining four overs on the resumption.
After Brathwaite chose to bat first on winning the toss, openers Chadwick Walton and Evin Lewis sought to give their team a flying start with a succession of boundaries. Both got into the twenties before falling though.
Walton was caught at long-on off spinner Mohammad Nabi while Lewis pulled a short ball from medium-pacer Janat to be taken at deep midwicket.
Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons were just getting into stride when the heavy showers swept across the ground and on the restart, Samuels departed to the bowling of Gulbadin Naib in the desperate rush for runs.
West Indies retained an unchanged 11 from the first match while Afghanistan made two changes to no avail. Noor Ali Zadran replaced Usman Ghani at the top of the batting order while Dawlat Zadran came into the final eleven at the expense of fellow seamer Shapoor Zadran.
"It is important for our development to have more matches against teams of this calibre," said visiting captain Asghar Stanikzai. "It’s the only way we can improve and we hope to show a much improved performance in the final match of this series."
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