The T20 World Cup 2022 tournament will commence in Australia in 18 days. Sportstar will present one iconic moment/match from T20WC history each day, leading up to October 16, 2022.
March 27, 2016 T20 World Cup: Afghanistan beats West Indies in first-ever meeting
The clash between a table-topper and a winless qualifier had turned into a lopsided affair in Group 2 on Saturday. A day later, it was exactly the opposite as Afghanistan, the only associate member team that made it to the group stage of the World Twenty20, staged the biggest upset of the tournament by edging past the West Indies at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium (Jamtha).
The six-run victory, completed after veteran off-spinner Mohammad Nabi conceded just three runs in the last over, helped Afghanistan register its first victory in the group phase in its fourth appearance in the WT20. Despite the narrow loss, West Indies finished on top of its group, booking a semifinal clash at the Wankhede Stadium on March 31 (Thursday).
When the West Indies began its chase of 124, — one run more than what it had overhauled two nights ago at the same venue against South Africa — it knew it was going to be a tough ask. Not only because it had rested Chris Gayle, but also due to the fact that Afghanistan possessed a quality spin attack that could trouble the best on a slow track.
Seasoned left-arm spinner Amir Hamza, who bowled three exceptional overs with the new ball, accounted for Evin Lewis. When Andre Fletcher returned to the dressing room at the end of the fifth over — he strained his right hamstring while attempting a single — the Caribbeans needed Johnson Charles or Marlon Samuels to bat till the end.
Afghanistan, however, had other ideas as it scalped both batsmen in six balls. Hamid Hassan, the quickest of the Afghan pacers, cleaned up Charles who had hit Nabi for two sixes in his first over. Leggie Rashid then bowled a perfect googly that pierced the gap between Samuels’s bat and pad.
From then on, West Indies had to play catch-up. Dwayne Bravo stitched together a 41-run partnership with Denesh Ramdin for the fifth wicket but once he was trapped in front by Nabi in the 15th over, the team slipped again.
When Hassan was unfortunately taken off the attack in the 17th over after bowling a second beamer — the ball didn’t rise above the waist of Darren Sammy! — West Indies had a sniff. However, Gulbadin Naib filled in for Hassan remarkably well.
With 10 required off the final over, Carlos Brathwaite was West Indies’ last hope. However, Nabi, bowling around the wicket, tied the batsman down off the first two deliveries.
Off the next, Brathwaite’s skied a heave and Najibullah Zadran, who had rebuilt the Afghanistan innings with an unbeaten 48 (40b, 4x4, 1x6), sprinted from deep square leg to deep midwicket and completed a brilliant catch.
The tumble resulted in Najibullah hurting himself and being unable to collect the man-of-the-match award.
His valuable innings, after walking in at 52 for four in the 11th over, apart from the sensational catch handed the West Indies its biggest reverse since losing to Kenya in the 1996 World Cup.
- Amol Karhadkar
This article was first published in The Hindu on March 28, 2016.