AFG vs WI T20Is: Five talking points from Afghanistan’s victory over West Indies

With a 29-run victory in the third and final T20I at Lucknow, Afghanistan surged to a 2-1 series win over West Indies. After losing the opening encounter, the Asian team came from behind to upset the current T20I champions 2-1. West Indies won the ODI series and Afghanistan have now pocketed the T20I series. Before both the teams begin their only Test match, here are five key points from the entertaining T20I series.

Lewis blasts off

Afghan captain Rashid Khan opted to field first in the opening T20I match. West Indian opener Evin Lewis made Rashid regret the decision in few overs only. The left-hander got off the hooks and delighted the Lucknow crowd with his blazing hits. In the powerplay, he lofted Mujeeb Ur Rehman for 16 runs in an over. Lewis continued his attacking approach and reached fifty in no time. West Indies were 100/3 in 11.4 overs when the opener returned for 68 runs from 41 balls. The team added only 64 runs in the final 50 balls. The Caribbean side ended up winning the first encounter by 30 runs.

Janat’s match

Karim Janat receiving the player of the match award

After the loss in the first match, Afghans gave an opportunity to 21-year old allrounder Karim Janat who entered the side with a moderate record. The move proved to be a masterstroke as Janat single-handedly won the match for his team. Batting at number three, Asghar Afghan’s brother struck a quick-fire 26 from 18 balls. Turning up with the ball, the medium-pacer registered the second-best bowling figures for Afghanistan. Running through the West Indian batting unit, Janat sealed the triumph for his team with a spectacular spell of 5/11 in four overs.

Also read: AFG vs WI: Nicholas Pooran handed 4-match ban for ball-tampering

Gurbaz steals the show

In the decider, Rashid went against the convention of fielding first after winning the toss and opted to bat first. At 12/2 in three overs, the Afghans were on brink of losing the plot. However, 17-year old Rahmanullah Gurbaz thought differently. The youngster got Afghanistan back into the game with his hoicks over legside. The cross-batted strokes bought runs in form of fours and sixes as Gurbaz boosted the run rate single-handedly. His knock of 79 (52 balls, 6 fours, 5 sixes) helped Afghanistan post 156/8. Windies fell 29 runs short of the total and lost the series 1-2.

Hope in vain

Shai Hope earned his chance in the third and final T20I with Denesh Ramdin out due to injury. Hope played his first T20I match against Afghanistan. Batting at number four, he came out to bat at a delicate situation of 16/2 in 3.5 overs. Pushing the team ahead in the 157-run chase, Hope completed his fifty and kept the side alive in the match. However, his solo effort was inadequate as Afghanistan clinched a 29-run victory.

Series win over T20I champions

Afghanistan West Indies

Afghanistan continued their incredible series-winning run as they surged to their fifth consecutive bilateral win. Their last loss was against West Indies where they went down 0-3. Since that defeat in 2017, the Afghans have won 2-0 versus Zimbabwe, 3-0 against Bangladesh, 2-0 and 3-0 versus Ireland in T20Is. Now, the spirited side has defeated West Indies 2-1 who is currently the reigning World Champion in T20 cricket.