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Afghanistan won by 7 wickets © Getty Images

Afghanistan mauled West Indies by seven wickets to lift their maiden ICC World Cup Qualifiers title. The final at Harare saw exceptional batting performances from Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi. Shahzad proved why he is regarded as one of fiercest hitters of the cricket ball.

Opening the batting for Afghanistan, Shahzad launched an all out attack on West Indies’ bowling pair of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder. He was well supported by Gulbadin Naib. The pair added 50 runs in 53 balls, with Shahzad doing most of the scoring. Keemo Paul came into the attack, and got Naib’s wicket. It was a poor shot from Naib, which let to his dismissal for 14.

Shahzad kept his merry ways going, while being joined by Rahmat. Shahzad took his time to reach his 12th ODI half-century, 45 balls to be precise; his second in a row. Rahmat on the played his part in the partnership, scoring constant singles. Soon Rahmat also started opening his arms, his sturdiness in the middle, grew Shahzad’s confidence even more.

The pair reached 50 runs in quick time as Afghanistan went past the 100-run mark. Shahzad was nearing his fifth ODI ton, but fell for 84. Chris Gayle bowling his first over produced results; Shahzad gave a simple catch at mid off.

Rahmat went on to score his 11th ODI fifty in 74 balls. Samiullah Shenwari came out at No.4 and cashed in on some poor bowling. Gayle brought in some excitement for West Indies, to get rid of Rahmat. Rahmat trying to be the hero got himself stumped for 51.

Nabi joined in Shenwari. Nabi took no time to launch an attack on Gayle. Gayle, who had already taken 2 wickets, gave away 18 runs in his sixth over courtesy three back-to-back sixes by Nabi.

It was Nabi (27) along with Shenwari (20), who added 36 off 26 to cruise Afghanistan past West Indies by 7 wickets.

Earlier in the day West Indies were helped to 204 runs thanks to knocks from Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell. Both scored 38 and 44 runs respectively amidst a batting collapse. Mujeeb Zadran picked up four wickets for 43 runs, while Naib claimed 2 wickets.

Afghanistan and West Indies had already qualified for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.

Brief scores

West Indies 204 all out (Rovman Powell 44, Shimron Hetmyer 38; Mujeeb Zadran 4 for 43) lost to Afghanistan 206 for 3 in 40.4 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 84, Rahmat Shah 51; Chris Gayle 2 for 26) by 7 wickets

Man of the Match: Mohammad Shahzad

Man of the Series: Sikandar Raza