Afghanistan pulled off a shock six-run victory to defeat West Indies in Nagpur on Sunday, but West Indies scored the 101 runs needed to top their group and progress to the semi-finals.
Afghanistan have left it late, but they’ve done what they set out to do: defeat a Test-playing nation. The Windies restricted them to 123-7, but they would have had it in the back of their minds that a similar total against the Proteas proved very challenging to track down a couple of days previously.
They took comfort in knowing, however, that they needed 101 to top their group thanks to a superior net run rate over England, and they did at least get as far as that, meaning England will face New Zealand in the semi-finals, with the Windies due to face the winner of Australia vs India.
West Indies won the toss and decided to do what’s worked so well for them in this tournament so far – chase down targets. Samuel Badree was on deadly form, tearing apart the Afghan top order to finish with figures of 3-14. At one point, Afghanistan were reeling on 56-5.
Najibullah Zadran put his hand up, however, and struck 48 off 40 balls to give his side a total to work with.
West Indies struggled in response, as Evans Lewis, in for Chris Gayle as a precautionary measure due to a hamstring niggle, walked for a duck off seven balls. Andre Fletcher became the latest victim to get a hamstring injury, forced off retired hurt on 11.
Denesh Ramdin (18) and Dwayne Bravo (28) chipped in from there to put the Windies in control, but Afghanistan struck back thanks to some inspired slow bowling from Amir Hamza and Rashid Khan. Their fielding was on point, too, as Mohammad Shehzad ran out Andre Russell. With West Indies needing 10 off the last over, Najibullah produced a brilliant catch to see of Carlos Brathwaite (13), and with that, a victory that they will cherish for a very long time.