Lewis, Williams give Windies series lead over Afghanistan

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Lewis, Williams give Windies series lead over Afghanistan

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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LUCKNOW, India (CMC) — Opener Evin Lewis struck a trademark aggressive half-century while seamer Kesrick Williams marked his first appearance for West Indies in 16 months with a three-wicket haul, as the Caribbean side swept aside Afghanistan by 30 runs in the opening Twenty20 International here Thursday.

Sent in at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Stadium, West Indies lacked fluency but still gathered 164 for five off their 20 overs with Lewis lashing 68 off 41 deliveries and captain Kieron Pollard getting an unbeaten 32 off 22 balls at the end.

In reply, the hosts never really threatened and were limited to 134 for nine off their 20 overs, to fall behind in the three-match series.

Najibullah Zadran (27), Asghar Afghan (25) and Fareed Ahmad (24) all got starts but failed to carry on as the West Indies bowlers struck at regular intervals to unsettle the innings.

Williams proved exceptional with his variations in finishing with three for 17 from his four overs while Man-of-the-Match Pollard (2-17) and leg-spinning Hayden Walsh (2-34), on his T20 debut for West Indies, supported with two wickets apiece.

Looking to extend their dominance from the ODI series whitewash, West Indies made a less than stellar start when debutant Brandon King (4) tried to cut one from off-spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and was bowled off the fourth ball of the innings.

Lewis then took charge, however, pummelling four fours and half-dozen sixes as he dominated an 87-run second wicket stand with fellow left-hander Shimron Hetmyer whose run-a-ball 21 was sedate by his standards and included just one six.

Hetmyer finally perished in the 10th over when he inside-edged a heave onto his pads and was taken by the keeper running around and Lewis, who brought up his fifth T20 half-century in the eighth over with a swept boundary off leg-spinning skipper Rashid Khan, followed in the 12th over when he skied fast bowler Gulbadin Naib (2-24) to long off.

Denesh Ramdin (20) and Sherfane Rutherford (9) fell cheaply as Afghanistan pulled the scoring rate back and it was then left to Pollard with two fours and a six in a 22-ball knock, to get West Indies past the 150-run mark.

The World champions quickly asserted themselves in Afghanistan's run chase, fast bowler Jason Holder having Rahmanullah Gurbaz caught at short fine leg for a first-ball 'duck' in the second over and left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell accounting for debutant Ibrahim Zadran (2), skying one to mid-wicket.

Opener Hazratullah Zazai, who struck 23 from 29 balls, paired with Asghar in a 48-run, third wicket stand to repair the damage as Afghanistan temporarily regained some momentum.

Williams, however, made the breakthrough when he got Zazai to nick a drive at a slower ball to be caught at the wicket and Pollard then claimed Asghar holing to deep mid-wicket at 69 for four in the 11th over.

Left-hander Najibullah threatened to stage a late rally when he stroked three fours and a six in a 22-ball cameo, as he put on 25 for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Nabi (7).

But once he skied Pollard to wicketkeeper Ramdin in the 14th over, the energy left the Afghan innings.

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