A brilliant performance by Evin Lewis with the bat and Kesrick Williams with the ball aided by an all-round performance from their skipper Kieron Pollard helped West Indies carry their winning form to the T20I series as well beating Afghanistan by 30 runs in the first match of Azizi Bank T20I Cup at Ekana Stadium, Lucknow.
Having won the toss, Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan opted to field in the first of the three-match series. Though Afghanistan started well with Mujeeb striking in the very first over getting Brandon King out for 4, West Indies came back strongly as Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis added 87 runs for the second wicket. Both batsmen later lost their wickets for 68 and 21 runs respectively as Afghanistan managed to restrict the flow of runs to some extent. However, an unbeaten match-winning knock of 32 from Windies skipper Kieron Pollard took his team to a competitive total of 164/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Gulbadin Naib was the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan taking 24/2 off his 4 overs while Mujeeb ur Rahman bowled economically as well returning 27/1 off his quota.
Chasing 165 to win, Afghanistan lost two wickets quickly as youngster Rahmanullah Gurbaz and debutant Ibrahim Zadran were back to the pavilion for 0 and 2 runs respectively. Hazratullah Zazai and Asghar Afghan tried to stabilize the innings for Afghanistan with a partnership of 45 runs for the third wicket. However, the rest of the batsmen could not hold the rising required rate in control as Afghanistan could only manage 134/9 in their innings conceding the match by 30 runs.
The second of the three-match series between both sides will be played on Saturday, 16th at the same venue.