SHAI Hope smashed an unbeaten knock of 109 to steer West Indies (WI) to a 3-0 whitewash of Afghanistan in the final One-Day International (ODI) at Lucknow, India, earlier today.
Sent in to bat, Afghanistan were led to 249/7 by a quick-fire Asghar Afghan (86 off 85 balls) partnered with an unbeaten half-century from Mohammed Nabi and another half-ton courtesy opening batsman, Hazratullah Zazai. Medium pacer, Keemo Paul was the pick of the WI bowlers grabbing 3/44 while Alzarri Joseph bagged 2/59.
In reply, WI had a shaky start losing Evin Lewis (1) and Simron Hetmyer (0) after just 16 balls bowled. In came Brandon King (39), who steadied the innings alongside Hope before being sent back to stands, bowled by Rashid Khan.
Skipper Kieron Pollard (32) and Nicholas Pooran (21) also contributed nicely with the bat. However, it was Roston Chase (42 not out) and an in-form Hope who would partner to score the winning runs (253/5) with just eight balls to spare.
Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahaman finished with his team’s best bowling figures while Khan (1/46), Nabi (1/47) and Sharafuddin Ashraf (1/57) grabbed one wicket each.
Hope’s “Player of the Match” performance also handed the visiting team its first whitewash victory in five years. The last time the West Indies whitewashed a team was against Bangladesh in 2014.
After the match, Pollard heaped praises on a valiant team effort and was pleased to return to winning ways in the 50-Over format.
“We are thankful to God for giving us this opportunity. We came here with a mission and specific roles for players, and all the players deserve credit. Winning is a habit, and anything that we want to do as a team is a process, and it's something we had to improve in a period of time. This was an opportunity for us to show we have that kind of venom inside us. We knew we had to rally as a team, and we proved we can bat 50 overs, and once we do that, we can win games.”
Hope, who celebrated his birthday yesterday (Sunday), expressed elation for his individual recognition and was happy that the men in maroon were able to secure the whitewash win.
“It was a long time coming. We've been waiting for this series win for a long time, so it felt good. Someone had to put his hand up and bat through the innings. Felt good to be able to do it. It's just about reading the situation, and as long as someone batted through, we were always going to win the game.”
For his all-round performance in the past three ODI’s, Chase was adjudged “Player of the Series”.
“Skipper (Pollard) told me last night we'll bat in a different position, but he said, 'Don't worry. Just concentrate on your bowling, and if you get a chance to bat, show that.' He said, 'Ros, just take over and play at a run-a-ball.' I did that, and put away the boundary balls. (On his bowling) I was just trying to vary my pace, and the pitch was helping out a lot. Each game, our bowlers came to the party. This is my first series win in five years, and I'm quite happy for that.”
The first of three Twenty20 match-ups between the two international teams bowls off on Thursday.