AFG vs WI ODIs: Five talking points from West Indies’ whitewash of Afghanistan

Under the leadership of Kieron Pollard, West Indies surged to a 3-0 win over Afghanistan in the three-match ODI series played at the Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow. The Caribbean side breezed to a comfortable whitewash with clinical performances in all three ODIs. Afghanistan were left with a lot to ponder as their ODI losing streak extended to 12 matches. Here are the five talking points from West Indies’ 3-0 triumph over Afghanistan.

King, Walsh and Shepherd – WI debutants

West Indies arrived in India with plenty of changes in the setup. Kieron Pollard took up the leadership and the management also introduced fresh faces in the team. Based on their performances in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League, Hayden Walsh, Brendon King and Romario Shepherd received their maiden call-up to the national team.

Medium-pacer Shepherd and leg-spinner Walsh featured in all three matches while King played in the final ODI only. Shepherd totalled three scalps while Walsh ended with four wickets in his kitty. King scored 39 runs in his debut appearance.

Moth invasion

West Indies Afghanistan

A man sprays around the field to remove moths (Photo by Rohit UMRAO / AFP)

After winning the first ODI comfortably, West Indies stepped out to defend 248 runs in the second ODI. However, their challenges were increased greatly with a moth invasion. Attracted by the floodlights of Ekana Cricket Stadium, insects swarmed onto the field and on the boundary ropes. Their presence was so daunting that a few West Indian cricketers wore masks. Captain Pollard and Jason Holder were in discussion with the on-field umpires but the play continued without any break.

Mystery solved?

Fastest to 100 ODI wickets, Rashid Khan has been the biggest superstar of Aghan cricket. The leggie with quick-arm action has played all over the world and has dominated most batting lineups. However, the Afghan captain appeared off the boil in the three-match series. On the Indian pitches, Rashid failed to have an impact as he suffered his worst bowling figures in an ODI series.

In three matches, Rashid ended up taking only two wickets while conceding 134 runs. These are his worst figures with previous being 2/72 against Ireland in Ireland in a two-match ODI series. The leg-spinner has struggled in the year 2019. He averages 50 runs per wicket this year which remains his worst performance in the five-year career.

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First series win after four years

Astoundingly, after beating Bangladesh 3-0 in August 2014, West Indies had not won even a single ODI series until November 2019. Their previous series against Afghanistan was a drawn affair with 1-1 conclusion. However, with this 3-0 victory, West Indies have finally broken their series curse. They lost to India, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in this duration.

Afghanistan can’t stop losing

Thus far, Afghanistan have taken giant strides in international cricket by slaying giants on occasions. A lot was expected from them in the 2019 World Cup but it kick-started a streak that the Asian nation is yet to escape. After a loss in the opening encounter against Australia, Afghans failed to recover and kept losing matches one by one. Their best chance of victory was versus India where they fell short by just 11 runs. Afghanistan went on to lose all nine matches in the World Cup and now this 0-3 loss extends their ODI losing streak to 12 matches.