AFG v WI: Gurbaz, Naveen star in Afghanistan’s series win


Rahmanullah Gurbaz produced the most significant innings of his seven-match T20I career and was the star in Afghanistan’s historic series win over the West Indies as they beat them by 29 runs in the third and final T20I in Lucknow.

Gurbaz, opening the innings, weathered the initial storm as Afghanistan lost three early wickets and were reeling at 44 for 3 in the 8th over. CricAlgorithmics had predicted their Chance of Winning to be at 28% at this stage.

Gurbaz not only resurrected the innings but also accelerated later scoring at a strike rate of 151.92. He contributed more than 50% of Afghanistan’s total of 156. When he was dismissed with Afghanistan at 120 in the 17th over, he had already improved his team’s Chance of Winning to 57%.

Earlier, at the start of the match after the toss, based on the starting XI of both the teams, it was Afghanistan who started favourites with a 53% Chance of Winning the match.

Half way into the match at the change of innings, it was advantage Afghanistan as they put up a total in excess of 150. At this stage, CricAlgorithmics gave them a 66% Chance of Winning the match.

Twenty year old pacer, Naveen-ul-Haq, impressed with the ball for Afghanistan. He got rid of King within the powerplay before ending any hopes of a miraculous West Indies win getting rid of Pollard in the 18th over. He ended with 3-24 in 4 overs.

Mujeeb Ur Rehman was the most restrictive bowler of the match conceding just 9 runs in his 3 overs also picking the wicket of Lendl Simmons. What stood out was the fact that he bowled three of his four overs within the powerplay delivering as many as 13 dot balls. He was also the most economical bowler of the series giving away just 46 runs in 10 overs. The off spinner has an excellent economy rate of 5.4 in his T20I career.

It was choke by spin for Afghanistan. While Mujeeb did not let West Indies get away in the powerplay, it was Rashid Khan who put on the breaks in the middle overs giving away just 18 runs in his 4 overs and also picking the wicket of out of form Shimron Hetymer.

Shai Hope’s fifty (52 off 46 deliveries) was the only positive for the West Indies in the chase. But, his scoring rate of 113.04 was much below the required run rate for the West Indies.

Evin Lewis was the highest scorer of the series with an aggregate of 106 runs in three matches.

Kesrick Williams was the leading wicket-taker of the series with 8 wickets at a strike rate of 9 in the series.

Karim Janat was the highest wicket-taker for Afghanistan with 6 wickets at an economy of 5.5.

Afghanistan has been very impressive in the shortest format of the game. Since the 1st of January, 2018, they have won 14 of the 17 T20I matches they have played.

West Indies would be particularly concerned with the form of two of their top-order batsmen – Brandon King and Hetmyer. King, who was the highest scorer in the Caribbean Premier League, 2019, could muster only 17 runs in three innings in the series. Hetmyer’s woeful year continued and he aggregated just 43 in the series.

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