West Indies came into this series with an ICC ODI Ranking of 9 just ahead of Afghanistan who were at number 10. Interestingly, it was Afghanistan who led the head to head 3-2! Thus, based on the starting XI of both the teams, Afghanistan had a substantial 43% chance of winning the first ODI at Lucknow. Led by their Mr Dependable, Rahmat Shah , they were in a commanding position at 126 for 2 in the 27 th over before losing way to be bowled out for 194. They lost their last 6 wickets for just 42 runs.
At the start of the match, CricAlgorithmics predicted that Shah would be the highest scorer for Afghanistan. As it panned out Shah top-scored with 61 off 80 deliveries. Shah has been the pivot for Afghanistan playing the role of the anchor at number 3 from where he has batted majority of his ODI career. He aggregates a total of 2316 runs in 67 innings at an average of 35.63 – the highest in Afghanistan’s ODI cricket history! But he wasn’t to be 20 th time lucky! Prior to the start of this match, 14 of his 19 fifty-plus scores had resulted in a win for Afghanistan.
Jason Holder was the pick of the West Indian bowlers picking two wickets conceding just 21 runs in his 10 overs. He bowled as many as 47 dot balls in the match –ie 78.33% of the balls he bowled weren’t scored off! Holder has an economy rate of just 5.69 since January, 2018. West Indies lost a couple of quick wickets but a career-best 94 by Roston Chase – only his second ODI fifty in 14 innings, and a match-winning 163-run stand for the third-wicket with Shai Hope (unbeaten on 76), meant that the visitors romped home by 7 wickets with plenty of balls remaining.
Post the 27 th over in their chase, West Indies’ chance of winning never went below 70%. Interestingly, though still early days, Hope’s average of 48.75 is the highest in West Indies’ ODI history (min. 1000 runs). CricAlgorithmics had predicted that he would score 40-plus. Afghanistan played a total of 170 dot balls whereas the number of deliveries West Indies did not score a single run off were 153.
Man of the match, Chase, had also picked two crucial wickets in the middle overs destabilizing the Afghanistan innings. He saw the back of Najibullah Zadran in the 27th over before breaking the backbone of their innings getting rid of Shah in the 33 rd . It was surprising that the Afghanistan skipper, Rashid Khan was quite ineffective with the ball. It is the 5 th instance in his last 10 matches that Rashid has not been able to pick a single wicket – those are as many times as he went wicket-less in his first 55 innings. An interesting observation was that as many as 8 of the 16 players who came out to bat today registered scores in single-digits! West Indies and Afghanistan have a 3-3 record in ODI cricket now. Who will take the upper hand when they clash again in Lucknow in a few days time?