Two Trinidadians excelled with their performance in Lucknow and gave West Indies a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan.

Evin Lewis top-scored in the match with 68 off just 41 deliveries and together with a cameo from skipper, Kieron Pollard at the death (32 off 22 deliveries) helped West Indies post a challenging 164 for 5 in their allotted 20 overs.

Lewis was particularly impressive as he took the attack to the bowlers and scored at a strike rate of 165.85 – much higher than the norm of the other batsmen in the match.

A notable feature of his innings was the number of sixes he hit in the match – in the upper quartile according to TVConal’s CricAlgorithmics.

Lewis, on an average, has hit 2.5 sixes per innings in his T20I career (60 sixes in 24 innings). This, stunningly, is the best frequency of hitting a six in the format’s history (min. 50 sixes in career).

Just for perspective, Gayle has hit 1.94 sixes per innings in T20I cricket – this basically means that Lewis is a bigger six-hitter than even Gayle in international T20 cricket!

His career strike rate of 159.95 is the third-highest in T20I cricket history (min. 500 runs), only marginally behind Colin Munro and Glenn Maxwell.

More significantly, West Indies have now won all the 7 matches in which Lewis has scored 50-plus – this showcases the genuine match-winner he is for his team with the bat.

Interestingly, based on the starting XI of both the teams, it was Afghanistan – the higher ranked side in T20I cricket - who started with an edge and had a 54% Chance of Winning.

But Afghanistan lost the advantage by making the wrong choice after winning the toss.

According to CricAlgorithmics, had they opted to bat first, their chances of victory would have gone up to as high as 69%!

However, Afghanistan did manage to pick the early wicket of King but the counter-attack by Lewis meant that West Indies had the advantage (higher chance of winning) right from the last over of the powerplay till the end of their innings.

Pollard came out to bat at 100 for 3 in the 12th over with CricAlgorithmics giving West Indies a 76% chance of winning the match with a forecasted score of 160.

His innings gave the visitors the necessary impetus at the death and their Chance of Win remained above 70% at the half-way stage into the match.

Pollard was in excellent form in the Caribbean Premier League, 2019, scoring 349 runs in just 11 innings at an average of 58.16 and strike rate of 159.36.

Interestingly, at the change of innings, CricAlgorithmics had predicted that Afghanistan would be bowled out for 138!

The home side did not have a great start to their chase – they lost the wickets of Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran early and were reeling at 7 for 2 in the third over.  At this stage, CricAlgorithmics predicted that West Indies have a 91% Chance of Winning the match.

They staged a recovery and still had an outside chance before Pollard returned and broke the backbone of their batting getting rid of their two highest scorers – Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran – in quick succession and with that ended any hopes of a win for Afghanistan.

Fast bowler, Kesrick Williams continued to impress in the shortest format. He picked three wickets including the wicket of Hazratullah Zazai breaking a potentially threatening stand between him and Afghan.

Williams has had a phenomenal start to his T20I career. He has picked 33 wickets in just 19 innings at an average of 16.45 and strike rate of 12.2!

A major difference between the two sides was their approach in the powerplay. While the West Indies continued to attack despite losing an early wicket and scored 52, Afghansitan could not quite afford that luxury after two initial setbacks and could only muster 38 in their first 6 overs, This put too much pressure on the asking rate and Afghanistan were always behind in the chase – a telling statistic in this regard was that Afghanistan’s run rate never reached 7 at the end of any of the 20 completed overs in their innings.

Another distinction between the two sides was the disparity in the number of sixes – while West Indies blasted 9 in their innings, Afghanistan could only hit two sixes during the course of their innings.

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