Hope gets Windies to 6-311 against Afghans

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West Indies: Jason Holder (C), Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Kemar Roach.

Afghanistan beat a star studded West Indian side comprising power hitters like Chris Gayle, Carlos Brathwaite and Shai Hope twice in the World Cup qualifiers, held in Harare a year ago.

Afghanistan will face West Indies in match 42 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Thursday at Headingley, Leeds.

Pooran (58 off 43 balls) and Holder (45 off 34 balls) added 105 runs in 71 balls to take the total past 300-run mark.

They watched West Indies beat Afghanistan by 23 runs, thereby signing off with a second win and condemning their opponents to a dismal return of nine defeats from nine, a huge disappointment for an emerging cricketing nation which, although nascent, had been expected to spring the odd surprise.

The West Indies middle order looks packed with players that could stay there for years to come, and young Alikhil delivered a dazzling innings for Afghanistan.

Summing up an often sloppy display in the field by Afghanistan was a weird incident off the final ball of the innings, when captain Gulbadin Naib was lining up to attempt a catch off Carlos Brathwaite's shot at long off.

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From there the run-chase faltered and West Indies' out-cricket improved. Afghanistan finish with 0 points, the only team to have not won any match in this World Cup.

Gayle was caught behind after a slash against Dawlat Zadran for just seven and remains 10 runs short of Brian Lara's all-time record for the West Indies of 10,348 one-day worldwide runs. It was the highest score by an 18-year-old at a World Cup, beating Sachin Tendulkar's knock of 84 in 1992. Rahmat Shah (62), Najibullah Zadran (31) and Asghar Afghan (40) were also looking good as the Afghan side looked to be playing with more freedom than before.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib will marshal his troops once again and will hope his spinners weave their magic one last time before they head back home.

Carlos Brathwaite (4-63) dismissed Shah as he and Kemar Roach (3-37) snuffed out Afghan hopes of an unlikely victory.

The big positive from the West Indies game was Ikram Ali Khil, whose footwork and speed between the wickets stood out in his 93-ball 86.

Despite the victory, two-time former champions West Indies remain second-bottom of the 10-team table. A win in their final match will be a nice way to exit the big stage.

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