A satisfying and rigorously fought Battle between West Indies vs Afghanistan that gave the West Indies their first ODI series win in five years, the last triumph coming half a decade back (in August 2014), a contest that saw a big accumulation of dot balls with Afghanistan spinners challenging the Windies batsmen to work for every run with the Windies pacers putting brakes on the Afghan middle and lower order thereafter, the Second ODI saw Pollard’s men clinch a fantastic 47-run victory.
On a slow wicket that offered all the assistance to the spinners, there wasn’t a tonnage of runs for the batsmen. Free-scoring big hits and breezy strikes didn’t make the key talking points from the second ODI between the West Indies vs Afghanistan.
The defeat inflicted by the West Indies also meant that Afghanistan is now enduring a tough phase in their ODI cricket with their last ten outings in white-ball cricket resulting in losses.
But with the Calypso dashers sporting beaming smiles with the playing eleven walking with a spring on confidence in their step, let’s look at the key talking points from the second ODI between the West Indies vs Afghanistan:
#1 A fighting sixth-wicket partnership between Najib and Nabi
As the Afghanistan batsmen continued to battle with the West Indies pacers in their bid to chase down 248, a highly gettable score, there were plenty of dismissals inflicted early on by the Windies in their bowling innings.
From 1-1 inside the opening over with Ahmadi departing continuing a dry patch, with Rahmat Shah, the best batsman in the unit departing in the fourteenth over making it 54 for 2, there was more trouble for Afghanistan when big-hitting left-handed opener Zazai departed in the next 4 balls, following the skilled right-hander.
The only saving grace, as Afghanistan stumbled and strolled on their way to 200 somehow was the 68-run stand between fiercely striking left-hander Najibullah and the experienced Mohammad Nabi.
With the equation in the final 15 overs asking the team to require slightly more than 6 an over, there was no dearth of glowing cover drives and gentle dabs down the fine leg and third-man boundary by the Afghan batsmen.
Yet, it wasn’t enough to take the chasing team over the ropes.
#2 Roston Chase’ brilliant spell
Among the Test mainstays for the West Indian team, Roston Chase is well on his way to carving a strong place for himself in the limited-overs set-up for the Windies.
While his outing with the bat didn’t last over 2 overs, he made it up by a sensational bowling spell, claiming three dismissals of his full quota of 10 overs.
Chase was instrumental in removing the dangerous Alikhil and the experienced Afghan and imposed a lot many dot balls over his Afghan opponents thus inducing more pressure than what his opposite numbers were able to contend with.
#3 Evin Lewis and Shai Hope give Windies the start they so needed
Among the key talking points from the second ODI between the West Indies vs Afghanistan was the valuable 98 run partnership registered by Evin Lewis and Shai Hope.
Truth be told, if there’s a critical area for development that the Pollard-led side would desperately want to improve and capitalize on, then it’s the efforts of their opening batsmen.
Not always does one see a Windies opening pair batting for as long as half of the team’s inning. Lewis and Hope carried their bat with measured caution, nearly into the 25th over.
While the stand may have lacked the quintessential Caribbean dazzle, there was a pleasant respite in seeing the batsmen rotate the strike, opting to go for 1s and 2s instead of free-flowing hits.
Hope, who may want to work on is strike rate compiled a crafty 43 while Lewis scored his seventh white-ball fifty and his first of this series.
#4 A match contested in tough, hardly playable conditions
Among the big talking points from the second ODI between the West Indies vs Afghanistan were the playing conditions in which both Pollard and Rashid’s men contested.
Especially during the second inning of the contest with the floodlights shimmering in full might, the West Indies bowlers didn’t just have to combat the growing partnership between Najeeb and Nabi but incessant clout of moths and flies.
Over after over, it became increasingly difficult for the bowlers to focus as the gr0und became blanketed by flies and moths, often coming in contact with the players in the middle.
Constant stoppages, often during an over with Pollard and Holder discussing the situation with the on-field umpires highlighted the plight that the two Afghan batsmen and the eleven fielders on the ground were embracing.
It’s not always that one sees a cricketer wearing a face mask but the Second ODI wasn’t a stranger to this phenomenon. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the administrators can do anything about it?
#5 Nicholas Pooran playing a strong hand for the West Indies
With talents like Chase and Hetmyer back in the dugout, Nicholas Pooran arrived at a time where the West Indies inning was struggling to maintain the 4-run-an-over mark.
But playing a breezy, characteristically aggressive 50-ball-67, an inning laced with 3 sixes and 7 boundaries, Pooran not only upped the ante but also took the attack to the outstanding Rashid Khan.
He didn’t seem to bog down under pressure versus the spinners and used the depth of the crease, combining craftiness and the ability to pierce gaps to consolidate vital runs for his team.
- MS Dhoni’s Help In A Period Of Transition A Boost For Rishabh Pant
- World Test Championship: Everything you need to know