After winning the first Twenty20 International, West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard had expressed relief that the two-time World T20 champions had broken their worst losing streak in the format which was seven. However, in the second match, West Indies' familiar frailities that had plagued them in the short format continued to haunt them as they succumbed to a 41-run loss against Afghanistan in the second Twenty20 International at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow on Saturday as the three-match Twenty20 series was now level at 1-1. The chief destroyer for Afghanistan was Karim Janat, who took 5/11 in four overs to become the third Afghanistan bowler after Samiullah Shenwari and Rashid Khan to take a five-wicket haul in the format. Rashid is the only Afghanistan bowler to take two five-wicket hauls.
It was a strange match for both sides, with the top scorer from either side being 26 while only four sixes were hit in the whole match. Afghanistan chose to bat and they were given a fast start by Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Zazai, in particular, took 16 runs in the first over bowled by Jason Holder which included a six and two fours. Zazai survived a dropped chance off Sheldon Cottrell when Kesrick Williams put down a catch and Gurbaz capitalised on it with two boundaries.
However, Williams made amends with the ball when he sent back both Zazai and Gurbaz but he missed the hat-trick. The double-strike by Williams stalled the run-rate and run-scoring became difficult. Janat tried breaking the shackles with three fours in one over bowled by legspinner Hayden Walsh but Holder, who was hit for 16 in the first over, bowled 16 dot balls and dismissed Janat and Asghar Afghan as Afghanistan struggled. The hosts kept losing wickets as the death overs approached and despite some big hits from Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan ended on 147/7. However, the 44-run stand between Naib and Najibullah was the highest seventh wicket stand for Afghanistan in the format and it gave their bowlers some hope.
In response, Ewin Lewis and Brandon King started off with a couple of boundaries but Naveen-ul-Haq dismissed King cheaply. West Indies struggled in the powerplay with just 29 runs in the first six overs and things were going to get a whole lot harder. Janat came into the attack in the eighth over and proceeded to produce a fine display of bowling. He trapped Shimron Hetmyer LBW and got the wickets of Sherfane Rutherford and Lewis in his next over. West Indies were reeling and Janat dealt them a body blow when he got the dangerous Kieron Pollard LBW for 7.
Rashid Khan was giving him good support with some tight bowling and he got Jason Holder stumped. When Janat came back in the end overs, the asking rate was over 16 and in his final over, he bowled Keemo Paul with a full ball and ended with 5/11, the second-best figures by an Afghanistan bowler as they wrapped up the win in style. Janat's figures were the best by a bowler against West Indies in T20Is and it only cemented Afghanistan's growing reputation as a side who can beat anyone on their given day.