Perfect West Indies Rewrite The Record Books

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

by Terry Finisterre

One night after Sri Lanka amassed the biggest T20 International total ever at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, the West Indies surpassed that record.

The final fixture of the group stages at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup pitted the home team against Afghanistan, both teams unbeaten coming into Monday’s game.

The men in maroon made two changes to their team. Obed McCoy replaced Roston Chase, and with Romario Shepherd departing camp so as to be present for the birth of his second child, Romaire Shepherd, Shai Hope came in.

The atmosphere at the DSCG was electric, with West Indies scheduled to play here in the Super 8 on Wednesday against England. 

Playing at home, Saint Lucia’s Johnson Charles was once more trusted at the top of the innings. And he delivered. The two-time World T20 winner from Millet struck 43 off 27 balls, finding the boundary on eight occasions. 

After Brandon King’s early dismissal, Charles combined with Nicholas Pooran for the highest PowerPlay total in the history of the T20 World Cup, 92-1. They benefited from what was, from the Afghan perspective, a disastrous fourth over, which yielded 36 runs, the most ever in an over in the annals of this tournament.

By the seventh over, Afghanistan had already conceded their biggest total for the competition, 96-1. After Charles’ relatively soft dismissal, Pooran would outscore every team Afghanistan had faced thus far, compiling 98 runs from 53 balls, with six fours and eight towering sixes before he was brilliantly run out with just nine balls left in the innings. 

The Trinidadian surpassed Aaron Jones of the USA for the top score in an innings. Jones had made 94 against Canada in Dallas. The 28-year-old Pooran also passed Chris Gayle for the most sixes for West Indies in this format. Pooran has hit 128 career sixes to 124 for Gayle.

The West Indies finished on 218-5, the biggest score of the tournament to date, and a new milestone for the venue. Gros Islet has now produced four of the eight highest team totals in this competition. It was the biggest score ever by the West Indies, overhauling their 205/6 against South Africa 14 years ago.

The run chase got off to the worst possible start for Afghanistan, Akeal Hosein bowling a wicket maiden the first over. It did not get much better thereafter, the first four overs going for just 20 runs. Gudakesh Motie replaced his fellow spinner in the seventh over. and promptly reduced Afghanistan to 45-2.

McCoy compounded Afghanistan’s misery, Charles taking two catches off his bowling, the score 59-4 after eight overs. A third McCoy wicket, having conceded just 14 runs from his three overs, and at the halfway stage, Afghanistan still in need of 153 runs, with only 60 legal balls to be faced.

In the end, West Indies romped home by 104 runs. Afghanistan were 114 all out, and West Indies were left riding high going into their first Super 8 fixture.

Daren Sammy’s men will look forward to another bumper crowd on Wednesday night, as they seek to keep their momentum going in the next phase of the World Cup.