Lucknow: Where was Karim Janat when Afghanistan got whitewashed in the ODI series? Where was Karim Janat when Afghanistan got manhandled by West Indies in the first T20I?
26 runs with the bat, followed by bowling figures of 5 for 11!
Playing his first match of the tour, Janat turned Afghanistan’s fortunes around by claiming his maiden five-wicket haul and helped his team defeat West Indies by 41 runs in the second T20I in Lucknow on Saturday (November 16) to keep themselves alive in the series. The 21-year-old registered Afghanistan’s second-best bowling figures in this format and his team has their their first victory of the tour as a result.
Most of Afghanistan’s batsmen got starts but not one of them could convert it into something substantial. Kesrick Williams (3 for 23) was pick of the bowlers as West Indies managed to restrict the“home team” on 147 for 7 in 20 overs, still Afghanistan’s highest T20I total against the opponent. In response, Janat dismantled West Indies’ middle-order with some fine fast bowling and the Caribbean side could only manage 106 for 8 in their 20 overs.
Earlier, there was something different about Hazratullah Zazai (15-ball 26) when he walked out to bat after Rashid Khan won the toss and decided to post a total on the board. Known for his aggressive stroke play, Zazai didn’t play his natural game in the first T20I and it didn’t help either his team or him, but the left-hander was having none of that on Saturday. The 21-year-old got the ball rolling by tonking Jason Holder for a maximum over deep mid-wicket before slamming two more fours to accumulate 16 runs from the first over.
Zazai was looking in phenomenal touch before his companion Rahmanullah Gurbaz (12-ball 15) too joined the party by smashing Sheldon Cottrell for consecutive boundaries, as Afghanistan were 41 for no loss in four overs. The openers were going all guns blazing but Williams brought West Indies back in the game by getting rid of both of them in consecutive deliveries in the fifth over.
The right-arm medium-pacer pulled the length slightly back and wicketkeeper-batsman Gurbaz, who was once again looking to go down the ground, mistimed one towards mid-on where Kieron Pollard took a good catch running backwards. On the very next delivery, Zazai sliced a loose delivery pitched outside off straight into the hands of Brandon King at cover point and that allowed the visiting side to put a brake on Afghanistan’s scoring rate.
Asghar Afghan (8) fell to Holder and didn’t contribute much but Janat was timing the ball pretty well and hit Hayden Walsh for three boundaries in the same over to bring some momentum back in the innings. However Holder, who conceded 21 runs in his first two overs, was brilliant in his last two overs as he gave away only two runs and also pinned Janat right in front of the stumps when he was on 26. The right-arm paceman finished with figures of 2 for 23, studded with 16 dot deliveries.
Coming in place of inured Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul (2 for 28) then dismissed Ibrahim Zadran (11) and Mohammad Nabi (3) in his successive overs to break the back of Afghanistan’s batting order. Most of Afghanistan batsmen were rightly targeting the straight boundaries but couldn’t adjust according to the pace of the surface.
Najibullah Zadran (24-ball 20*) stuck around till the very end but it was Gulbadin Naib who provided some firepower at the end to propel Afghanistan to a fighting total. Naib struck two fours and a maximum in his 18-ball 24 before becoming Williams’ third victim in the final over.
Afghanistan had to make sure that West Indies didn’t get off to a flying start and Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Naveen-ul-Haq gave nothing away in the first six overs. The two bowlers showed tremendous control and didn’t allow King (12) and Evin Lewis to score at a brisk pace. King, who had a forgettable outing in his first T20I, once again couldn’t get the ball away and was knocked over by Naveen in the fourth over. The opener completely failed to read the off-cutter and had to watch his middle stick go for a toss.
Mujeeb was superb in the powerplay, giving away just 10 runs in his three overs, as West Indies could only manage 29 runs in their six overs. That’s when Janat was handed over the ball and the paceman turned the tide completely in Afghanistan’s favour by picking up three wickets in his first two overs. Shimron Hetmyer (12) was wrongly given lbw but there was nothing wrong about the other two wickets that he took in his next over.
Lewis too ran out of patience and tried to go after Janat but ended up mistiming one straight into the hands of the long-on fielder. Janat then had Sherfane Rutherford (6) caught behind on a delivery angling away and reduced West Indies to 45 for 4 in 10 overs. Sensing the importance of Kieron Pollard’s wicket, Rashid asked Janat to bowl his third over and the pacer delivered the knock out blow by dismissing the West Indies captain for just three runs.
He then returned to bowl in the 18th over and completed his five-wicket haul by knocking over Paul for 11. Wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin (27-ball 24*) stayed unbeaten but hardly made any impact on the game.
The two teams will now play the decider on Sunday at the same venue.