West Indies opener Chris Gayle scored an unbeaten 65 to take his side to a comfortable eight-wicket win against Afghanistan in Colombo last night.
Gayle, who averages 64.30 in all international matches this year, and 70 in the three T20Is, took his time to get going, but accelerated later as West Indies reached the modest target of 123 with more than five overs to spare.
Gayle and Dwayne Smith put on 29 runs in the first five overs for the first wicket, before Smith was dismissed. Gayle started to hit a few boundaries, and with Johnson Charles added 59 runs in the next six overs, which diminished Afghanistan’s hopes of an upset. Offspinner Karim Sadiq, who gave away eight runs in his three overs, and seamer Shapoor Zadran were economical, but the West Indies batsmen scored off other bowlers to secure their chase.
Unlike West Indies, Afghanistan couldn’t accelerate their scoring when required. Asghar Stanikzai scored his second half-century in two matches, guiding the innings for the most part. But before he could boost Afghanistan’s scoring at the death, he departed in the 18th over to leave them at 100 for six. A couple of sixes towards the end took them to 122, pegging the required run rate at just a little more than six runs per over – that wasn’t enough. West Indies bowled well collectively: none of the bowlers went for more than 6.50 runs per overs, with four of them being among the wickets.
Afghanistan face India in their first World Twenty game on September 19 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, and West Indies face Australia at the same venue three days later. (Cricinfo)