Nicholas Pooran starred as West Indies got a statement win in their final T20 World Cup group game, beating Afghanistan by 104 runs in St Lucia on Monday.

Both sides had already qualified for the Super 8s, but West Indies ensured they finished unbeaten in Group C, breaking a few records along the way.

Afghanistan had no answers to the co-hosts' dominant batting performance, with Johnson Charles getting 43 off 27 balls before Pooran plundered 98 off 53 balls, including six fours and eight sixes.

He was run out in the final over while searching for his century, but Shai Hope (25) and Rovman Powell (26) had already helped push West Insides towards the highest total of the tournament so far with 218-5.

West Indies did not let up during the Afghanistan chase, starting strongly when Akeal Hosein had Rashid Khan caught for a duck in a wicket maiden to start.

Obed McCoy was the standout though, as he took 3-14, including Ibrahim Zadran, who was starting to build some momentum with his 38, leaving Afghanistan all out for 114 with 22 balls remaining.

West Indies meet holders England in their first Super 8 match on Wednesday, while Afghanistan face India the following day.

Data Debrief: West Indies finish group in record-breaking style

West Indies' score of 218 was their highest-ever at the T20 World Cup, while they also registered the highest powerplay score with 92, beating the Netherlands' record of 91 against Ireland in 2014.

In the fourth over alone, they scored 36 runs - equalling the record for the most expansive over in men's T20s.

Pooran has scored the joint-most sixes in the tournament so far (13, along with USA's Aaron Jones), and has broken the record for the most sixes (128) in T20s for West Indies, going past Chris Gayle's 124.

His total of 98 was also the highest individual total at this World Cup, carrying him past 2000 runs in T20Is.

All in all, not a bad day for the West Indies.

West Indies have sent a huge warning shot to all and sundry in the Super Eight of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, as they eased past Afghanistan by 104 runs in their final group stage encounter at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia, on Monday.

The win not only ensured that West Indies head into the next phase of the tournament unbeaten, but more importantly, reaffirmed that the Darren Sammy-coached team is a force to be reckoned with, in their hunt for a third T20 World Cup crown. Their two titles to date were won in 2012 and 2016.

Having already secured qualification in the Super Eight stage, West Indies were chasing form and momentum against Afghanistan in the Group C top-of-the-table clash. However, the co-hosts put to rest any lingering doubt surrounding their title claims with the eye-catching performance that had historians scrambling.

Nicholas Pooran with a 53-ball 98, including six fours and eight sixes, led the record-breaking charge, as he assumed the record for most sixes in T20I for the Caribbean side. His tally, which now stands at 128 sixes, swept past Chris Gayle’s 124.

Homeboy Johnson Charles struck 43 off 27 balls including eight boundaries.

Obed McCoy (3-14) and spinners Gudakesh Motie (2-28) and Akeal Hosein (2-21) then did the damage with the ball.

Pooran’s knock is the highest individual score for the tournament so far, while West Indies’ total was their highest batting score in T20 World Cup, and the biggest of the tournament so far.

In fact, the 332 runs scored across both innings, was also the highest match aggregate involving West Indies and Afghanistan in a T20I.

Scores: West Indies: 218-5 (20 overs); Afghanistan 114 all out (16.2 overs)

Johnson Charles 43 from 27 balls had eight boundaries

After being asked to bat by Afghanistan, West Indies lost Brandon King (seven) in the second over, but it did little to halt their momentum, as Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran both clicked into top gear, in the blink of an eye.

Charles struck three boundaries in the third over, which inspired Pooran to do something truly out of this world at the change of ends. The wicketkeeper/batsman produced a 36-run over off Azmatullah Omarzai –6, 5NB, 5WD, 0, 4LB, 4, 6, 6 –being the sequence.

It’s the fifth time in Men’s T20I history an over has gone for 36 runs, and the second time at a World Cup.

The punishment continued, as the pair pushed West Indies to 92 for 1 at the six-over mark. It’s the biggest Powerplay total in Men’s T20 World Cup history.

Charles smacked another boundary that took West Indies to 100 from 7.4 overs, before he was dismissed to end an 80-run stand that took just six overs.

Shai Hope’s 17-ball 25, which had two sixes, helped the run rate stay in double digits, as Pooran raised the bat in the 14th over – his 50 came off just 31 balls and it was his first half-century in a T20 World Cup.

The boundaries had dried up in the middle overs courtesy of Afghanistan’s spinners, who gradually pulled things back, before captain Rovman Powell, who contributed 26 off 15 balls, including two sixes and a four, started finding his range – a six to start the 16th over took the Windies past the 150 mark.

Pooran found his groove again in the 17th over, and later cracked 24 runs off the 18th bowled by Afghanistan’s captain Rashid Khan. The Trinidadian southpaw later fell via the run out route, two runs shy of what would have been a well-deserved century.

Set a mammoth target, Afghanistan tried to set sail towards it, but lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz (zero), who lobbed to Andre Russell off Hosein’s third ball of the first over.

Gulbadin Naib and Ibrahim Zadran briefly steadied the ship at 45-1 at the end of the Powerplay, before Motie removed the former for seven, and triggered a collapse.

Wickets fell at regular intervals, as Afghanistan slipped to 66-5 at the half-way mark and never really recovered. Zadran’s 38 off 28 balls, including five fours and a solitary six, was the highlight of the innings, with Omarzai’s 19-ball 23 and captain Khan’s 18, being the next best scores.

West Indies’ spinner Gudakesh Motie has become just the second player from his side to secure an ICC Men’s Player of the Month award.

2024 is turning out to be a fairly rewarding year for West Indies players.

In January, young star Shamar Joseph won the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award for his sensational performance that led to the unforgettable victory over Australia at the Gabba. Now, teammate Motie has secured the Player of the Month award for May 2024.

The left-arm spinner beat out competition from Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi and Ireland’s Lorcan Tucker to win the award.

Motie, who continues to shine during the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, had a host of brilliant outings during May.

He enjoyed plenty of success in the three-match home series against South Africa, picking up eight wickets across three matches at an average of 8.50.

On the back of his performance, the hosts sealed a statement 3-0 victory in Jamaica.

Motie picked up 3/25 in the opening contest to restrict the tourists’ chase and he backed that performance up with another impressive spell of three for 22 to stifle the middle-order in the second fixture as well.

Another two wickets in the final match turned the tide in favour of the hosts once more and allowed the 29-year-old to claim the Player of the Series accolade.

In the ongoing Men’s T20 World Cup, Motie has shown fine form and picked five wickets at an average of 11.

Motie was excited to accept the award and is hoping he can continue his excellent recent form and help the West Indies succeed at the T20 World Cup.

“It means a lot to me and I am very happy to win this award. It’s very encouraging, I have put in a lot of work during this season and I am happy that I am seeing the rewards now," Motie said.

“The standout performance for me during the series against South Africa was the first game, where I took three for 25. The third wicket that night was my favourite.

“Playing in a World Cup means a lot to me, and playing at home in front of our fans and knowing the conditions is also special. We have started strongly, playing three games and getting three wins, and I see us going all the way and lifting that cup on 29 June.”

 

 

 

The West Indies delivered a commanding performance against Uganda in their second match of the 2024 T20 World Cup, crushing their opponents by 134 runs. The star of the night was undoubtedly Akeal Hosein, whose career-best figures of 5-11 spearheaded the West Indies' bowling attack and highlighted the fruits of his relentless hard work and preparation.

West Indies, after setting a formidable total of 173-5, saw significant contributions from their top order. Johnson Charles led the charge with a solid 44, while Andre Russell's brisk 30 off 17 balls, alongside essential innings from Rovman Powell (23), Nicholas Pooran (22), and Sherfane Rutherford (22), set a challenging target for Uganda.

The Ugandan side, however, crumbled under the pressure of the West Indies' bowling onslaught, collapsing to a paltry 39 all out. Only Juma Miyagi managed to reach double figures, remaining unbeaten on 13. Hosein’s exceptional spell was well-supported by Alzarri Joseph (2-6) and a wicket each from Russell, Gudakesh Motie, and Romario Shepherd.

Reflecting on his outstanding performance, Hosein attributed his success to his dedication and strategic planning. "I think I needed this. In the nets and in the previous series, I felt the ball was coming out good but I was just not getting the rewards," Hosein explained.

“It is a lot of hard work. When you get success, guys are going to study you and have a plan. You always have to stay a step ahead. For me, it is just about trying to react to what the surface is doing and planning it out. Even if the ball is going both ways, you cannot do much if you don't plan. So, it is about planning the over well. I am happy to bowl wherever the team needs me."

Hosein’s disciplined approach and adaptability were evident as he dismantled the Ugandan batting lineup, showcasing why he is regarded as one of the top bowlers in the world.

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Rovman Powell praised his team's significantly improved performance compared to their nervy five-wicket victory against Papua New Guinea in the opening match on June 2.

"We talk about improving 10-15 per cent every match. Last game, we were flat so we just wanted to improve as a team," Powell remarked. "When you are playing at home, the pressure can sometimes get to you. So, a little bit of rust in the first match. We started off at 60 per cent, now up to 70-80 per cent and from here, it gets tougher."

Powell was particularly effusive in his praise for Hosein, emphasizing his consistent excellence. "He has been fantastic, that is why he is the number-three ranked bowler in the world. He has done it against Full-Member nations as well, and we expect him to do it against teams that are just coming into international cricket."

Looking ahead, Powell highlighted the challenges that lie in wait but expressed confidence in his team’s preparedness. "It is just for us to continue to play good cricket. We have played good cricket for the last 12 months or so. It gets tougher from here but we understand conditions and cricket is not easy in the Caribbean."

Like the rest of the cricketing world, I was gripped by USA’s victory over Pakistan. It is a huge result which is not only incredible for them but massive for cricket as a whole.

You always expect a few upsets at World Cups and having started well by beating Canada, USA put Pakistan under the pump for pretty much the whole game. The atmosphere in Texas looked great and I think it marks the day the World Cup really started.

USA look very well organised and the way they stood up to that Pakistan attack, one of the best bowling units at the World Cup, you have to give huge kudos to them.

They will now look to cash in on this result and they can absolutely reach the Super 8s – what a story that would be.

They have such talent in the team. Aaron Jones looks right at home on the big stage. For cricket to grow in any country, you need a hero and he is the USA hero. He scored 90-odd against Canada to see them home and now this in the Super Over – what an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup he has had already.

Andries Gous is also a very, very good player, I've watched him in a few tournaments in the US. He's a very good striker of the cricket ball and is very good against spin. Steven Taylor is a quality player, Nitish Kumar can bat as well and Corey Anderson brings the experience.

They know the conditions very well and these grounds do not have big boundaries, so if they get going, they can hurt you.

As for Pakistan, they have no time to waste. They have to re-group for the biggest game of the tournament against India in New York City – that’s just got even bigger.

Their backs are up against the wall and coming off a loss like that straight into playing a team like India, who traditionally have the upper hand in these games, is a huge challenge. India are in the driver's seat, definitely a more relaxed seat, but this is India versus Pakistan at a World Cup, so you can take nothing for granted.

Windies should also capitalize on home advantage

USA are making the most of home advantage so far and my hope is that the West Indies can do the same.

It's never easy playing home, especially in a big occasion like a World Cup, because the expectation is so high.

We know the conditions very well, so outsiders might think we should actually go all the way and win the tournament, but it’s never quite as simple as that.

It is actually quite rare for a home team to win a T20 World Cup but hopefully this year will be a change of fortune. We can lift the trophy on June 29 in Barbados, for sure.

Having not qualified for the last ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, this tournament is so important for cricket in the Caribbean. This is a huge thing for the players to step up and be counted.

We started with an edgy win over Papua New Guinea but sometimes an edgy win is a good win. It was important to start on a winning note and now they just need to kick on, make sure they get to the Super 8s and then look to take it further.

It’s up to the players now to entertain the fans and make sure we get some quality support in the stands, and fill it up.

Nicholas Pooran is going to be key in that respect and Brandon King has been batting superbly as well. I think we have a well balanced all-round team. Romario Shepherd and Andre Russell will have a big part to play at the back end, we have two quality spinners in Gudakesh Motie and Akeal Hosein, and Alzarri Joseph is rapid and very steady.

Anything can happen in that first game, no matter who you are playing – just ask Pakistan – so the win was the most important thing. But if I was in that dressing room, I would be asking for more. I would be saying ‘look, that was our bad game but we still got a win. Now we must push on from here’.

Everyone should be hungrier to go out and deliver more with the bat and with the ball, and step up another level. We certainly have the players capable of doing that.

West Indies slow left-arm orthodox bowler Gudakesh Motie is reaping the benefits of his consistent performances in recent times, as he has been shortlisted for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Month awards, which celebrates the outstanding performers from international competition in May.

The Guyanese, who is currently on duty with the West Indies at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, is joined by Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Ireland's Lorcan Tucker on the men's list released by ICC on Friday. The women's list is headlined by Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu, with England's Sophie Ecclestone and Scotland's captain Kathryn Bryce, the other nominees.

Motie, 29, earned a nomination after his Player of the Series exploits in West Indies whitewash series triumph over South Africa. Similarly, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi enjoyed a prolific wicket-taking month in his side’s T20I tours of Ireland and England last month, while Ireland's wicketkeeper/batsman Tucker recorded consistent scores against Pakistan, Netherlands and Scotland in his side’s preparations for the T20 World Cup.

Like Motie, Afridi and Tucker are both on duty at the T20 World Cup being hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

Meanwhile, two stars from the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE are nominated in the Women’s Player of the Month category, alongside an England spin sensation.

Sri Lankan skipper Athapaththu is nominated for the second month in a row after topping the run-scoring charts in Abu Dhabi and hitting a sparkling century in the final match. She is joined by Scotland skipper Bryce, who led her side to an historic first qualification for a women’s World Cup event thanks to memorable individual contributions. England’s Ecclestone is the third name in contention, nominated for more wicket-taking feats as her side overcame Pakistan in both shorter formats last month.

An independent ICC Voting Academy and fans around the world will now be invited to cast their votes to decide the winners, which will be announced next week. Fans are now able to vote for their favourite performers at icc-cricket.com/awards.

Shaheen Shah Afridi

ICC Men’s Player of the Month Nominees for May:

Gudakesh Motie (WI)

The West Indies’ left-arm spinner enjoyed plenty of success in the home series against South Africa in May, taking eight wickets across three matches at an average of 8.50, as the hosts sealed a statement 3-0 victory in Jamaica. Motie took three for 25 in the opening contest to restrict the tourists’ chase and he backed that performance up with another impressive spell of three for 22 to stifle the middle order in the second fixture. Another two wickets in the final match turned the tide in favour of the hosts once more and allowed the 29-year-old to claim the Player of the Series accolade.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (PAK)

Pakistan’s frontline pacer is nominated for the second successive month after another blistering spell of fast bowling in May. Afridi took ten wickets in his five T20I contests during the month, which included three consecutive three-wicket hauls. Spells of three for 49 and three for 14 against Ireland helped Pakistan overturn a series deficit to win in Dublin, before the 24-year-old followed up with three for 36 against England in Birmingham. The three-time nominee has never won a Men’s Player of the Month award but has a strong case to claim his maiden prize.

 

Lorcan Tucker (IRE)

The wicketkeeper-batter aims to become the first Irish winner of the Men’s Player of the Month award since Harry Tector in May 2023, and is nominated thanks to explosive run-scoring feats during a busy month of international competition. Tucker top-scored for Ireland in the second and third matches against Pakistan with successive quickfire scores of 51 and 73, and carried that momentum into the tri-series against Scotland and Netherlands, hitting 40 and 55 as Ireland sealed confidence boosting wins ahead of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign.