18 Jun 2024, 08:43
Update : 18 Jun 2024, 09:05

Rampant Windies make 218-5 against Afghanistan at T20 World Cup    

GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia, June 18, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Nicholas Pooran was run out agonisingly short of a maiden T20 World Cup hundred in propelling the West Indies to 218-5 against Afghanistan on Monday, the highest total at the tournament.

Batting first in the final Group C match at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia, Pooran's blistering 98 off 53 balls (six fours, eight sixes) highlighted a dominant batting effort by the home side after they were put in.

Both teams have already qualified for the Super Eights, which start on Wednesday.

Coming to the middle in the second over after the demise of Brandon King, Pooran and hometown hero Johnson Charles (43 off 27 balls) accelerated at supersonic speed in lifting the total to 92-1 by the sixth over.

It was the highest total ever in the Powerplay overs of a T20 World Cup since the first of the eight editions was played in South Africa in 2007.

That period of carnage included 36 off an over from seamer Azmatullah Omarzai, whose wayward bowling in the fourth over of the innings reflected the confused state of an Afghan team that previously had things much their own way in the field in their first three matches in the group.

But it was Omarzai who ended Pooran's pursuit of the century in the final over of the innings, his direct hit to the striker's end from deep cover leaving the left-hander just short of his ground as he dived to the crease in attempting to complete a second run.

There was some consolation in getting to 2,000 T20I runs towards the end of his innings, but most importantly it represented a return to his best at a time when the West Indies are likely to need his phenomenal power-hitting in the Super Eight stage.

With all the frontline Afghan bowlers taking a hammering it was left to Gulbadin Naib to help pull things back with 2-14 off two overs, the wickets of Shai Hope and captain Rovman Powell helping to put a measure of restraint on the rampant West Indies batting.