West Indies ease past Afghanistan in first T20I

In this photo taken on November 14, 2019, West Indies' cricketers (R) celebrate the dismissal of Afghanistan' Asghar Afghan (L) during the first T20 international cricket match of a three-match series between Afghanistan and West Indies at Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. (Photo by Rohit UMRAO / AFP) / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-----

A half-century for Evin Lewis and a three-wicket burst from Kesrick Williams helped West Indies secure a 30-run win over Afghanistan in the first of three T20Is.

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Having won the toss and chosen to bowl, Afghanistan struck early, Mujeeb Ur Rahman removing debutant Brandon King for four in the first over, before Shimron Hetmyer and Lewis put on a powerful 87-run stand for the second wicket.

Afghanistan struggled despite Mujeeb's early wicket
Afghanistan struggled despite Mujeeb’s early wicket

Lewis was the aggressor, falling for 68 from 41 balls, having scored over two-thirds of his side’s runs up until that point, while Hetmyer was more sedate, his 21 coming at a run a ball.

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Denesh Ramdin scored at a similar pace and it seemed the hosts might be clawing their way back into it, but Kieron Pollard, on T20I captaincy debut, contributed 32 off 22 to ensure his team finished strongly. Gulbadin Naib, who claimed 2/24 after missing the last two ODIs, was the pick of the bowlers, while openers Mujeeb and Mohammad Nabi were economical, returning 46 runs from their combined seven overs.

Pollard had an all-round day to remember
Pollard had an all-round day to remember

Afghanistan slipped to 7/2 early on chasing 165, and never got going thereafter, their struggles shown by the fact that four batsmen made between 20 and 30. The usually explosive Hazratullah Zazai was becalmed, taking 29 balls for his 23. In the end, the 30-run margin flatter the hosts, only reduced by Fareed Ahmad’s late blows

Williams was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 3/17 from four overs, while Pollard’s 2/17 completed an excellent all-round day. Sheldon Cottrell was miserly, his two overs up top rewarding him with 1/5.

The series continues at the same venue on Saturday, 16 November.

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