GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – West Indies’ embarrassment plumbed new depths here Friday night when they suffered a humiliating 63-run defeat to ICC Associate side Afghanistan, in the opening day/night One-Day International of the three-match series.
Already dealing with the shame of their failure to qualify for the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy in England, the two-time former World champions were inflicted with even more disgrace as they collapsed without so much as a whimper to the Asian side at the Darren Sammy National Stadium.
Asked to chase what should have been a staightforward 213 for victory, the Caribbean side were mesmerised by 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan whose career-best seven-wicket haul sent them tumbling for 149 all out off 44.4 overs.
Shai Hope’s workman-like 35 was the best offering for the Windies while tail-ender Alzarri Joseph, batting at number nine, made 27 and opener Evin Lewis 21.
They were the only three to pass 20 as their counterparts failed to come to grip with the visitors’ varied attack on a sluggish surface.
Khan finished with seven for 18 – the fourth-best bowling performance in one-day history – to hand the Windies their 12th loss in their last 13 ODIs inside the last 19 months.
For Afghanistan, the victory marked their first over a major Test playing nation and was their seventh win in their last 11 outings.
Though West Indies started slowly and lost both openers Kieran Powell (2) and Lewis cheaply, there was no sign of the shock to come as they progressed to 68 for two in the 23rd over.
Khan’s introduction in the 23rd over, however, completely transformed the game. With his very first delivery, he had Jason Mohammed taken at slip off a juggling attempt by Mohammad Nabi for seven, playing back when he should have been forward to a good length ball.
Roston Chase’s dream debut never materialised as he departed to the next delivery without scoring, pinned against his stumps on the back foot by a googly he never picked.
More carnage followed in Khan’s next over. Hope had spent 63 balls at the crease and struck a four and a six when he too played back and edged a leg-break to slip where Nabi pulled off a brilliant diving catch to his left.
And for the second time in as many overs, Khan found himself on a hat-trick when captain Jason Holder (0) prodded forward to the next delivery and was bowled through the gate by a wrong one.
Tottering on 70 for six in the 25th over, West Indies were settled somewhat by a 20-run stand between left-hander Jonathan Carter (19) and Ashley Nurse (12) before Khan again struck to have Nurse lbw on the back foot in the 29th over.
At that stage, there seemed no way back for the hosts and a meandering 45-run stand off 62 balls between Carter and Joseph seemed to only delay the inevitable.
Carter’s boundary-less 56-ball labour ended when he picked out substitute Shafiqullah at mid-wicket with seamer Dawlat Zadran and his demise signaled the final decline, as Khan grabbed the last two wickets to put the Windies out of their misery.
Earlier, opener Javed Ahmadi’s 81 had been the driving force behind Afghanistan’s 211 for six off their 50 overs, after they opted to bat first.
The right-hander faced 102 balls and struck eight fours and two sixes, posting 55 for the second wicket with Rahmat Shah (17) and a further 44 for the fourth wicket with Samiullah Shenwari (22).
However, when Afghanistan lost three wickets for 23 runs to slump to 154 for six in the 43rd over, Gulbadin Naib arrived to smash an unbeaten 41 off 28 balls to rally the innings.
He counted three fours and two sixes and put on an invaluable 58 in an unbroken seventh wicket partnership with Nabi whose unbeaten 27 came from 30 balls.
The second ODI is on today at the same venue.