Afghanistan won a Twenty20 International series against West Indies for the first time and it continued their unbeaten run in bilateral series since 2017. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Afghanistan made a huge statement in Twenty20 Internationals after winning the third and final match against two-time World T20 champions West Indies by 29 runs to clinch the series 2-1. This was their second series win against a major Test playing nation, having earlier whitewashed Bangladesh 3-0 in 2018. The series represented a brilliant comeback for Afghanistan, who were whitewashed in the ODIs and lost the first T20I before registering two wins. Karim Janat took 5/11 in the second match and in the third and final match, Rahmanullah Gurbaz starred with 79 and despite Shai Hope's 52, Naveen-ul-Haq took 3/24 as Afghanistan completed a major triumph.
The fact that they defeated West Indies, considered the powerhouse in World T20, is a testament to their rising stock in world cricket. In fact, Afghanistan have not lost a bilateral Twenty20 series since 2017, when they were whitewashed by the West Indies 3-0 in the Caribbean. Since then, they have won five consecutive Twenty20 International series and they shared a Twenty20 tri-series trophy against Bangladesh which also featured Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan's winning streak started in the two matches against Zimbabwe in the United Arab Emirates when they won the games by five wickets and 17 runs. In the second series against a much-fancied Bangladesh side, they won the first two games by 45 runs and six wickets while Rashid Khan defended eight runs in the final over to help them win the final match by one run. Afghanistan got the better of Ireland twice in their own home turf as well as in India, winning 3-0, By the time the tri-series arrived, Afghanistan had created a new record of 12 consecutive wins but their streak ended when they lost to Bangladesh by 25 runs. However, they qualified for the final but they had to share the trophy as the final was abandoned due to rain.
Afghanistan were at the receiving end of West Indies' determination to snap their seven-match losing streak which was their worst but they bounced back in grand style. Afghanistan's win against West Indies has made them a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming ICC World T20 which will be played in Australia in 2020.