West Indies Dominate Afghanistan, Advance Unbeaten in T20 WC

West Indies Dominate Afghanistan, Advance Unbeaten in T20 WC

The West Indies have made a powerful statement, cruising past Afghanistan and advancing unbeaten to the next phase of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (WC).

As the first round concludes, the West Indies have firmly established themselves as contenders. Already qualified for the Super Eight, the co-hosts sought to build momentum against fellow unbeaten Group C team, Afghanistan, in Saint Lucia. They delivered a performance that had historians scrambling.

Opting to bat first after Rashid Khan’s decision to bowl, the West Indies started with a bang at the run-friendly Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. Despite the early loss of Brandon King (7 off 6), Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran quickly shifted into top gear.

Charles hit three boundaries in the third over, inspiring Pooran to an extraordinary feat in the next. Pooran smashed 36 runs off Azmatullah Omarzai’s over, including two sixes and several boundary shots. This tied the record for the most runs in an over in Men’s T20I history and was only the second instance in a Men’s World Cup.

The onslaught continued, with the West Indies reaching a record 92/1 in the Powerplay – the highest in Men’s T20 World Cup history. They surpassed Afghanistan’s previous highest conceded total of 95 runs within 6.5 overs.

Johnson Charles was dismissed for 43 off 27 balls, ending an 80-run partnership. By drinks, the West Indies were 113/2, poised for more record-breaking feats. Shai Hope’s quick 25 off 17 balls kept the run rate high, while Pooran reached his half-century in 31 balls, his first in a T20 World Cup.

Though boundaries dried up mid-innings, Rovman Powell reignited the scoring with a six in the 16th over, propelling the total past 150. Pooran, finding his rhythm again, hit 24 runs off the 18th over from Rashid Khan, who ended his spell wicketless and conceding 45 runs.

Andre Russell joined Pooran in the 19th over, but Pooran’s century bid ended at 98 off 53 balls after a brilliant throw from Omarzai. The West Indies posted 218/5, their highest T20 World Cup score and the tournament’s top total so far.

Records Achieved:

Highest total of the 2024 T20 World Cup

Highest individual score of the 2024 T20 World Cup

Highest Powerplay score in T20 World Cup history

Highest total for West Indies in T20 World Cups

Equal most runs conceded in one over in T20 World Cup history

Second highest team total against Afghanistan in Men’s T20I history

Most sixes by a West Indies player in Men’s T20I history (Pooran)

Chasing 219, Afghanistan faced an uphill battle. A third-ball dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (0 off 3) set a poor tone. Despite efforts from Gulbadin Naib and Ibrahim Zadran, Afghanistan reached only 45/1 at the Powerplay’s end.

Gutakesh Motie’s breakthrough led to a consistent fall of wickets, with Afghanistan at 66/5 by drinks. Brief resistance from Karim Janat and Omarzai wasn’t enough as Afghanistan was bowled out for 114.

With a commanding 104-run victory, the West Indies head into the next phase in formidable form, posing a significant threat to their opponents as the tournament progresses.