Afghanistan humbled West Indies by 7 wickets in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2018 final fixture at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday, thus lifting the trophy. The loss, in contrary, might not have hurt the Caribbean nation, but it surely has dinted their pride as it was the second time they were drowned by the Afghans. With both the teams having cemented their place in the ICC World Cup next year slated to be held in England and Wales. Exuberant Afghanistan, however, boasted the nature of force they are to reckon with another impeccable victory. While Mujeeb Ur Rahman bagged 4/43 to restrict the Windies to 204, Mohammad Shahzad (84) and Rahmat Shah (51) dazzled with the bat to chase down the target comfortably.
Batting first, the West Indian batsmen faltered from the beginning as the likes of Chris Gayle (10), Evin Lewis (27), Shai Hope (23) returned for paltry scores. Shimron Hetmyer (38), Rovman Powell (44), Ashley Nurse (26) did show some resistance to go past the 200 run mark but Mujeeb’s venomous spell did not allow the opposition to settle. Losing wickets at regular intervals also led Jason Holder and Co perish for a meager total. While Mujeeb stunned the Windies’ batsmen with his 4 for 43 in 9.5 overs, Gulbadin Naib returned with figures of 2/28. Young leg-spinner Rashid Khan bagged only one but with that wicket of Shai Hope, he became the fastest bowler to reach 100 international wickets beside being the youngest as well.
Coming out to chase, Mohammad Shahzad went all guns blazing as he pummeled 84 in 93 balls riding 11 fours and two maximums. He was supported commendably by Rahmat Shah who brought up his fifty in 78 deliveries with the help of four boundaries. The West Indian bowling was not up to the mark as Afghanistan overhauled the target with 56 balls to spare. Mohammad Nabi (27) and Samiullah Shenwari (20) ensured there was not much delay in their jubilation. Nabi disfigured Gayle’s spell with three back to back sixes in the 41st over to get over the line with ease. Gayle picked two of the three wickets conceding 38 runs.