Afghanistan wallop Windies to claim ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier title

Sun, Mar 25, '18



It’s not how you start but how you finish – Afghanistan proved the old maxim right as they clinched the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 title at a canter, beating Windies by seven wickets at Harare Sports Club. That completed a fairy-tale comeback for the team, who had started the competition with three successive losses before running up a sequence of five wins to take home the trophy.

Both teams had already qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, which was the main objective, but there were bragging rights and good silverware on offer. Mujeeb Ur Rahman first led the way with 4/43 to the bowl out Windies for 204 in 46.5 overs. Mohammad Shahzad in his usual flamboyant style then cracked a 93-ball 84 as Afghanistan reached 206/3 in just 40.4 overs.

The Afghanistan batsmen went about the chase brilliantly. Shahzad started off with a fortuitous boundary courtesy a top edge over the wicket-keeper's head but quickly got into his stride to cart the Windies bowlers all over the park, displaying his full array of strokes. Gulbadin Naib, the other opener, was watchful early on but got into the act by clipping Kemar Roach for a four to square-leg and cutting Carlos Brathwaite for another boundary past point as Afghanistan brought up their 50 in the 10th over.

However, Keemo Paul soon brought Windies back in the game by getting Naib to edge one straight into the hands of Chris Gayle stationed at first slip to depart for 14.