Afghanistan v West Indies Match 48 at Headingley

Neil Whitaker reports

IT was a match that nobody should have turned up for because  it was a dead match nothing for the teams to play for but those that turned up saw Sachin Tendulkar replaced in the record books, Afghanistan’s highest score in a World Cup match but they still lost by 23 runs.

West Indian Nicholas Pooran gave Yorkshire fans a glimpse of what they can expect to see in this year’s Vitality T20 Blast as he hit 58 and shared in a fifth wicket partnership of 105 in 11 ½ overs with skipper Jason Holder which put the match beyond Afghanistan ‘s reach.

With the final power play started the West Indies were a modest 200 for four then it was carnage. The next five overs only saw 46 runs but in the next four they scored 51 runs.

Pooran hit Dawlett straight back over his head with a baseball type shot for his only six of his knock.  When he came into bat after the fall of Shimron Hetmyer’s wicket, Pooran got off the mark in great style when he pulled his first ball to the boundary.  On 12 he gave himself room and flayed Sayad through mid off where Gulbadin made a great effort to take the catch but could only get his fingers on his right hand and couldn’t take the catch.  If only that catch had been taken.

The partnership between Pooran and Holder was broken with a piece of miscommunication.  Holder had a big swing at the first ball of the final over from Sayad and missed. Pooran ran for a bye only to find himself at the same end as Holder who hadn’t moved an inch.  Desperately, Pooran tried to get back and was run out by a mile.

Holder clipped the next ball off his legs but found Dawlett running round from fine leg. During the carnage with Pooran he hit four sixes  and a four.

Carlos Braithwaite added to his reputation of hitting sixes in the final over of an innings by hitting Sayad cleanly for a straight six to bring up the West Indies 300.  He got a thick outside edge to the next ball which flew to the third man boundary. The final ball will one that Gulbadin will want to forget. Braithwaite hit it straight and Gulbdadin on the long off boundary looked a cert to catch it but as the ball fell he protected his head with his hands and the ball pitched where he was stood.

At the start of the day Chris Gayle playing in what will be his last match in the World Cup needed 18 to equal Brian Lara’s  ODI record runs and he ended the day needing another 11. The West Indian fans were hoping to celebrate his equaling Lara or beating it so that they would have something to remember from this World Cup.  Alas it was not to be.

Gayle and Evin Lewis, recalled to the team in place of Sunil Ambris, looked to set a platform for big score as Lewis raced ahead of Gayle.  Every time Gayle took strike the crowd expected a big shot to the boundary. On seven he give himself room to have a big swing at Dawlet but top edged it to stumper Ikram.  The highest West Indies partnership for the first wicket in the tournament was 36 made in five overs of their first match at Trent Bridge against Pakistan.

Two overs after Gayle’s departure the West Indies should have been two down when Shai Hope,who in his last  appearance at Headingley became the first player to hit a century in both innings in a first class match,clipped Dawlet off his legs to Rashid at short mid wicket but he dropped a dolly. Hope who was so sure he was out set off walking.

Lewis who has had three failures out of four previous matches hooked Sayed over fine leg for a six. He hit his second six when he pulled Gubandin over mid wicket.

Hetmyer stood and delivered Nabi over long on for a big six.  On 38 he edged a slog off Rashid and Nabi coming in from deep mid wicket looked favourite to the catch but in his vision came Shinwari running out from mid wicket and they both put the other off.

It only cost Afghanistan one run, in the next over Hetmyer pulled a rank full toss from Dawlat to substitute Noor Ali Zadran at mid wicket who took a great catch. Hetmyer had a big swing at Nabi without moving his feet but was fortunate to clear the ropes with a man at long off.

On 58 Lewis lost patience with Mujeeb and had a big swing at him missed the ball, the Afghans went up for a leg before appeal which was turned down.  They reviewed it but the replay showed it was umpires call. Without adding to his score Lewis pulled Rashid but found Naib who ran round from long on to take the catch.

Hope hit his third fifty of the tournament. He brought it up when he dragged a single off Nabi to long off.  Hope opened his shoulders and lofted Nabi into the Football stand for six to bring up the fifty partnership with Lewis.  He hit consecutive boundaries off Nabi. The first was wider and just bobbled before Gulbadin the second was a classic straight drive.  Two balls later he got too far under a drive off Nabi and found Rashid mid wicket.

Hope said: “I just love to bat here and nice to perform here.”

Afghanistan Wicket keeper Ikram, who started the tournament batting at number nine, in the match against Pakistan he batted at number four, in this match he came in at the fall of Gulbadin’s wicket and by the end of his innings he had replaced Sachin Tendulkar in the record books by making the highest score by an 18 year old in the World Cup beating the 85 made by Tendulkar in Dunedin in the 1992 World Cup.

Ikram started off by smashed Roach back over his head for a one bounce four and featured in two of the biggest stands in the Afghanistan innings.  Ikram danced down the wicket Fabian Allen and lofted for a one bounce four into the Football stand. He should have been stumped on on 73 off Gayle and was well out off his ground but Hope demolished the stumps without the ball in his hand.  His maiden ODI fifty off 57 balls which was exactly the same number that it took his second wicket partner Rahmat to reach his fifty.

Hope added: “He came in with aggression and intent and it came off for him today. In this tournament it’s about who is the best team and plays the best wicket  on the day and we have lost the vital sessions.”

Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin was the first to go in the second over.  After slapping the previous ball from Kemar Roach to the mid wicket boundary Gulbadin got carried away and tried driving the next ball but he mis cued and Lewis at mid wicket took a simple catch.

Gulbadin said: “In each and every game we’ve made a lot of mistakes.  I dam not happy with the team’s performance in this World Cup. A lot of players have not played to their potential.  Everyone was expecting a lot from us and we were hoping for three victories. We played badly in the first three games but We should improve in every department from now.  I am sorry for my fans and for my country.”

Twice in two overs Rahmet drove Oshane Thomas to the cover boundary, the first off his back foot and the second was a front foot drive. Rahmet clipped a short ball from Holder to the fine leg boundary to take him into the forties.

The pair  came together in the second over and every boundary they scored was cheered wildly and the longer they stayed together the more likely that there would be an an upset.  They needed to stay as long as possible and must have worried Holder as he brought Gayle into the attack and it was Gayle who broke the partnership not as the bowler but as the fielder.  Rahmat pushed at Brathwaite and got a thick leading edge and Gayle took the catch at short cover. The partnership of 133 was Afghanistan highest partnership in the tournament. Rahmet’s 62 was the highest score by an Afghanistan opener in a World Cup match.

They should have been the end of the chase but Ikram with Najibullah showed the crowd that they still thought they had a chance.  Najibullah, was another who started the tournament down the order but has worked his way up, he lofted Brathwaite into the middle tear of the Football stand for the first six of the Afghanistan innings.

In the 36th over the match was as good as over as Afghanistan lost both Ikran and Najibullah in the space of three balls.  First to go was Ikram when he tried sweeping a full length ball off Gayle, missed it and was given out leg before but Ikram reviewed it and the decision was upheld.

Gulbadin added: “He played really well and did his job.  He played some good cricket in the under 19 World Cup and that’s why we brought him here. I hope that other youngsters will do as well.”

Three balls Asghar played Gayle to mid wicket and set off for a run.  Gayle tried to field the ball. Seeing Gayle going for the ball they decided to go for two but Hetmyer raced in from the edge of the circle and threw the ball in.  Brathwaite took the bails off and Najibbullah was run out. Within the space of three balls Afghanistan had lost Ikram and Najibullah who had added 51 in nine overs for the third wicket.

Former skipper Asghar tried his best with some big hitting but on 40 he walked across his stumps and blasted Brathwaite to Holder at long off. Four balls later Dawlet drove Brathwaite to Cottrell at long on.

Rashid not only brought up Afghanistan’s 250 but also their highest score in the World Cup.  He tried repeating the shot in Brathwaite’s next over but found Holder. Allen took a spectacular leaping catch in the covers off Brathwaite to dismiss Sayad off the last ball of the match.  Afghanistan lost their last eight wickets for 99 in 14.3 overs.

SCORECARD

July 5, 2019 8:57 am

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