AFGHANISTAN VS FINAL INDIA, 2019
Gurbaz made 52 balls of 79. © AFP
The best blow to Rahmanullah Gurbaz's career of 79 formed the core of the Afghan series victory after handing West Indies a 29th defeat in the third and final T20I in Lacuno on Sunday (November 17th). The wicker-bat smashed five and a half dozen bounds in its 52-ball attempt that gave Afghanistan a healthy 156/8 – their best of the series – before a collective, disciplined effort by the shakers limited the visitors to just 127/7 in response and despite the uncharacteristically eternal half-century of Hai Hope.
On the same track at Ekana Stadium, where West Indies had 147 just last night, Afghanistan has already raised the stakes by setting a target of 157 this time. To make matters worse, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman smashed Landl Simmons' stumps in the first ball of the third over with a stupid one, shortly after Naveen-ul-Huck again improved the better of Brandon King, delivering exactly like off-logging. he took it out in Game 2 as West Indies dropped to 16 for 2 in the fourth.
Evin Lewis, with his three boundaries, drove the West Indies forward and put in a brief partnership with Hope, which stopped the move before Karim Shanat hit lbw on the 24th. I hope he lifted the ante from there, but the West Indies already west eighth ball. Lowered to 11, he survived the missed opportunity also in his fifty-second 43-ball pass, adding 38 runs to Shimron Jetmer and 32 more to Kieron Pollard. However, until the two more successful bats failed, the West Indies demand rate reached 10 and beyond in no time. The pair made 11 of them, leaving Half-Century Hope and Tail with a demanding 45 required in less than three overs.
Well set up, Hope decides to take matters into his own hands, but a hefty one straight to Asgar Afghanistan on extra cover, which has prevented a lightning strike on everyone but seals the fate of the game. West Indies. from 118/6 at the start of their penultimate finish, crawl to 127/7 just to delay the inevitable.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan retained its faith in the winning combination and chose to fight for the first time in the series decider, supporting its forces to defend all in total. However, Sheldon Cottrell wound up with two quick wickets in quick succession in his magic spell to bring back Hazratullah Zazai (0) and, last night's hero, Karim Shanat (2) by the end of the third over.
Gurbaz fired in return on behalf of the home team, attacking aggressively despite damage to the other end. Of the 32 Afghans operated in the six power browsers, Gurbaz had 26 hits, including two blows to the fence and two over it. Pollard introduced Curry Pierre in the attack just after the powerful play, and Gurbaz, after a first-ball brace, launched the left-hander deep into the stands long, making his intentions pretty clear.
The only time Gurbaz ever stepped foot was when he sold Ibrahim Zadran down the river, retracting his steps after calling for a single that resulted in a shattered dream of a last-ditch runaway in the eighth in a row.
Former skier Asgar Afghanistan played a second leg for the first 40 races of his 50-year partnership with Gurbaz before deciding to shift. It almost receded as it tried to fit one over the deep fence in the middle of the cereal and almost climbed on the filler, only for Brandon King to limit rope regulation. The Afghan was then brought up half a century after his fourth braiding partnership, as he was muscling a poor full thrown from Kemo Paul on the stump over the long-legged fence. However, Paul and King have been reunited at the same time, combining again to end Afghanistan's fiery storm and threatening partnership.
Gourbaz, once again unfortunate, brought two sixes and more boundaries before Pollard reached him slower. Clutching at 79 – already surpassing the previous best in the T20Is – Gurbaz tried to cut the ball short, only to defeat a man on the sweeper's lid.
Najibullah first, and then Nabi assumed the role of aggressor as soon as Gurbaz left, and even without much accomplishment, ensuring that Afghanistan ended up in total healthy health for it was a strong hand to defend comfortably.
Short Ratings: Afghanistan 156/8 in 20 overs (Rahmanulah Gurbaz 79, Asgar Afghanistan 24; Sheldon Cottrell 2-29; Kesrik Williams 2-31; Kemo Paul 2-26) won West Indies 127/7 at 20 Avers (Hai Hope 52, Evin Lewis 24; Naven-ul-Huck 3-24) by 29 races.