Afghans start with win despite Charles fifty

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – Twenty20 World Cup star, Johnson Charles, stroked a half-century but was the only bright spark as Afghanistan opened their limited overs tour of the Caribbean with a 12-run victory over the WICB President’s XI in St Kitts Tuesday night.
Chasing a modest 116 at Warner Park, the President’s XI could only muster 103 for nine off their 20 overs, with opener Charles gathering a typically robust 53 off 44 deliveries.
However, the right-hander was the only batsman to pass 15 and just one of three in double figures, as the run chase lost impetus in the middle overs.
They were slumping at 31 for three in the seventh before Johnson combined with wicketkeeper Devon Thomas (13) in a 40-run fourth wicket stand to revive the innings.
The hosts were then seemingly well poised at 71 for three in the 14th but once Charles, who struck five fours and two sixes, became the second of off-spinner Mohammad Nabi’s two wickets, the innings fell away with six wickets falling for 30 runs.
Teenaged leg-spinner Rashid Khan was the best bowler with three for 11 from his four overs while left-arm spinner Amir Hamza chipped in with two for 17.
Earlier, Afghanistan rallied to 115 for nine off their 20 overs, with opener Usman Ghani top-scoring with 33 from 34 deliveries with four fours and a six.
Fast bowlers Miguel Cummins (3-19) and Sheldon Cottrell (3-24) finished with three wickets apiece while left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul picked up two for 25.
The Afghans face West Indies in the first Twenty20 International of the three-match series here on Friday at 7:30 pm.

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