Khan again among the wickets
By Sean Devers in St Lucia
In association with Vnet Communications, Noble House Seafood, Baksh Travel Service,
Payless Varity Store & Golden Arrow Inn in St Lucia
West Indies were made to work hard for a series leveling win last night at the Daren Sammy cricket ground as they beat a spirited Afghanistan unit by four wickets in the second ODI of the three-match series after the visitors had won the first one on Friday night.
A defiant 51 from 73 balls with two fours and a couple of sixes from number eight batsman Gulbadin Naib was the only bright spot in a dismal Afghanistan total of 135 all out in 37.3 overs with only Mohammed Nabi (13) and Skipper Asghar Stanikzai (11) of the other batsmen reaching double figures.
Shannon Gabriel (2-25), Jason Holder (2-38), Alazzari Joseph (2-15) and Ashley Nurse (2-33) bowled well for the West Indies who struggled to 138-6 from 39.2 overs with 23-year-old Shai Hope finishing unbeaten two away from his second ODI fifty. His 48 took 77 balls and included three fours.
Evin Lewis hit five fours in 33 at the top of the order, while Rovman Powell (17) was the other batsman to reach double figures. Khan followed up his 7-18 in the first ODI with 3-26, while Naib took 2-15.
Chasing 136 to win, Lewis slashed Dawlat Zadran over slip for four in the first over and banged him for another in his next over.
Kieron Powell pivoted and pulled Zadran for four more before Lewis finished off an expensive over with two disdainful boundaries as the openers showed the type of intent which was lacking on Friday and by the break West Indies had raced to 37 without loss from six overs.
Lewis on 25 from 21 balls and Powell on 11 from 15 balls with their team needing 99 more to level the series.
After the Interval Khan was introduced and had the left-handed Powell (12) caught at slip as he totally miss-read a perfectly pitched Google with the score on 40-1.
Hope joined Lewis, who danced into Khan and stroked him sweetly wide of mid-off for four while Hope leaned into Nabi’s off-spin and caressed him for a boundary which brought up the 50 in the 10th over as both batsmen seemed intent on being positive against the spin.
At 51-2 Khan and trapped Lewis LBW when he ill-advisable went on the back to one that he should have been forward to. Jonathon Carter (2) soon edged Naib to the Keeper at 63-3.
Hope punched Naib gloriously to the ropes at cover but Jason Mohammed (2) was removed by Naib at 72-4.
Roston Chase joined Hope, the only batsman who seemed to be picking Khan and together rotated the strike with scampered singles and when Chase ducked from a bouncer from Zadran and the ball hit his bat and went over the Keeper’s for four, the close 300 fans roared with delight.
When Chase (9) was stumped off Khan at 98-5 Afghanistan must have been thinking the unthinkable.
Rovman Powell was dismissed with 13 to win to end a 25-run stand with Hope, who remained to the end with Holder (7) to see their team home.
Earlier, on a sun-kissed day Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat on the same track from Friday’s game and under a blue sky with rolling Hills as a back drop Javed Ahmadi got going with a fluent cover drive off Gabriel for four.
Noor Ali Zadran drove Gabriel uppishly for four past cover but both openers were again troubled by the pace and bounce on the helpful track.
Ahmadi was beaten for pace when he missed a cut and played late as Gabriel hit the slice of the bat when he bowled short before Skipper Holder had Zadran (8) caught and bowled at 21-1.
Ahmadi (9) on the back of a fighting 81 in the first ODI was run out in the same over as both batsmen ended in the same crease to leave Afghanistan on 24-2.
Rahmat Shah (1) was removed by Gabriel, who then trapped Samiullah Shenwari (2) nine runs and two overs later as the Afghans slipped to 34-4 in 10.1 overs.
With the Afghanistan, St Lucian and WICB flags fluttering in the strong breeze, Nabi joined Asghar Stanikzai who was soon sent packing by Joseph with the score on 48. Stanikzai got a nasty bouncer aimed at his helmet and just managed to fend it awkwardly to the Keeper.
The hostile Joseph produced another quick short ball which Nabi (13) fended off his rib cage to Chase at short square leg as the visitors wobbled to 51-6.
Off-spinner Nurse took away the fear factor from one end much to relief of the batsmen but Joseph continued to pepper the Afghans with fast short pitched bowling that had them backing away. But when Joseph pitched up Naib dumped him back over his head for six.
Rovman Powell, replacing the injured Miguel Cummins, replaced Joseph and Naib and Afsar Zazai staged a mini-recovery as Powell and Nurse eased the pressure.
Just when the partnership was beginning to be a worry, Chase replaced Nurse and had Zazai (7) caught at slip at 81-7 to break the 30-run stand. Holder was hit for six by Khan (7) but fell next ball when he was caught by Hope at 96-8.
Naib brought up the 100 with a boundary off Chase before a straight six off of Holder took him into the 30s, while pacer Zadran smashed Nurse to ropes at cover to evoke memories of Afghanistan’s late order rally in Friday’s ODI.
With the partnership on 30, Zadran (9) was stupendously taken by a diving Evin Lewis on the deep mid-wicket boundary as Nurse struck at 127-9.
Naib continued to defy the West Indian attack; pulling Nurse for four to post his third ODI fifty but fell off the next ball when he was taken at long-off.
This was the 30th loss by Afghanistan since playing the first of 82 ODIs in the 2009 World Cup in South Africa but the most memorable of their 52 wins was against the West Indies last Friday.
The last ODI is set for Wednesday at the same venue which will host another Day/Night affair.
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