Windies come up short as clinical Afghans lift title

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (CMC) – Favourites West Indies failed in their bid to put the finishing touches on an otherwise successful campaign as nemesis, Afghanistan, trounced them by seven wickets on Sunday to lift the ICC World Cup Qualifiers trophy.
Hoping for revenge in the final at Harare Sports Club after two losses in the competition to the Asian side, West Indies never mounted a serious challenge, dismissed for 204 and then watching as Afghanistan strolled to their target with nearly 10 overs remaining.
Opting to bat first, the Caribbean side was coasting at 73 for two in the 18th over before slumping to lose their last eight wickets for 131 runs.
All-rounder Rovman Powell top-scored with 44, left-hander Shimron Hetmyer chipped in with 38 while Evin Lewis got 27 and Ashley Nurse struck an unbeaten 26 towards the end.
Sixteen-year-old off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was again brilliant with the new ball, taking four for 43, while seamer Gulbadin Naib picked up two for 28.
Man-of-the-Match, Mohammad Shahzad, then took the game from the Windies with a typically aggressive 84 off 93 balls, as Afghanistan dominated the early stages of the innings to put the result beyond doubt.
Rahmat Shah weighed in with 51 while Mohammed Nabi arrived with victory already in sight to blast a cameo unbeaten 27, ending the contest in style with three successsive sixes down the ground off part-time off-spinner Chris Gayle.
The victory completed a fairy-tale turnaround for the Phil Simmons-coached side who had barely squeezed into the second stage of the tournament after winning just a single match in the preliminaries.

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