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Afghanistan held their nerve in thrilling chase against Windies

Rahmat Shah scored 68 runs in the chase
Rahmat Shah scored 68 runs in the chase

Afghanistan 198-7 (Rahmat 68) beat
Windies 197-8 (Hope 43) by three wickets
1st match, Super Sixes, Harare

Rahmat Shah scored a valiant half-century as Afghanistan managed to overcome late strike from Windies and chased down 198 runs with three wickets in hand in the first game of the Super Sixes stage of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Harare.

Chasing 198 for a win, Afghanistan lost both Mohammad Shahzad (8) and Javed Ahmadi (1) inside five overs. Rahmat (68) was put under a lot of pressure but he and Samiullah Shenwari (27) ensured Afghanistan reached 36 for one in the first powerplay.

Rahmat finally upped the ante when he plundered three boundaries in the 14th over from Carlos Brathwaite (0-39) while his partner Shenwari was dropped by Chris Gayle at the other end. The 50-run partnership between the duo came in the 18th over as Afghanistan knocked down 81 runs off the target.

Nikita Miller (1-41) got the breakthrough when he had Shenwari dismissed, this time Gayle making no mistake. Windies could have had Afghanistan in deep trouble had they hit the stumps direct when Rahmat attempted an improbable run.

Nevertheless, Rahmat and Mohammad Nabi (31) consolidated with a 49 run stand for the fourth wicket and in the process, the former completed a 92-ball fifty. Afghanistan were left with 69 to get off the final 15 overs with seven wickets in hand.

This is when things went haywire for them as they lost Rahmat, Nabi, Najibullah Zadran (19) and Gulbadin Naib (10) but Rashid Khan (13 not out) played a responsible innings and along with Sharafuddin Ashraf (7 not out) saw the team through in the 48th over.

Earlier, Windies won the toss and decided to bat first.Chris Gayle (1) was castled by Mujeeb ur Rahman (3-33) in the fourth over. Evin Lewis (27) got to a promising start but was run out leaving Windies in further trouble.

Marlon Samuels (36), Holder (43) and Shai Hope (36) all got starts but regular strikes from Mujeeb and Nabi (2-43) put them in check and Windies eventually could manage only 197 for eight in their 50 overs.

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