The West Indies batsmen, barring Chris Gayle, put on a collective show before Kemar Roach and Carlos Brathwaite excelled with the ball to help the veteran sign off with a win in his final World Cup game. Here’s Tim Wigmore’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
West Indies v Afghanistan
Match 42, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
July 4, 2019
An enjoyable match that had no bearing on the knockouts felt at times like a testimonial for Gayle, playing his 35th and last World Cup game. The two sides who battled through qualifying had long since been eliminated – and you could see why, especially in the field.
Yet there were also glimpses of class. West Indies passed 300, not thanks to Gayle, who backed away to Dawlat Zadran and edged behind for seven, but to players who may be in their prime come 2023. Hope, dropped on five by Rashid Khan at mid-wicket, anchored the innings with 77. Then came pyrotechnics from Hetmyer, Pooran and Holder; in all, six players contributed to West Indies’ tally of 12 sixes.
A target of 312 was tough: Afghanistan had never successfully chased more than 274. But Rahmat Shah and Ikram Alikhil – the 18-year-old wicketkeeper who had batted at No. 9 earlier in the competition, and boasted an ODI best of 24 – put on 133 for the second wicket; Alikhil’s 86 contained sumptuous timing and straight-drives.
At 189 for two, the game was nicely poised. But Gayle trapped Alikhil, Najibullah Zadran was run out two balls later and, when Mohammad Nabi fell cheaply, Afghanistan’s hopes of recording a victory in the tournament were vanishing.
The lower order kept swinging, and Brathwaite grabbed four. West Indies won their first game since routing Pakistan in May – and Gayle led them from the field.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack