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Cricket news - Asghar Afghan's gritty 86 props up Afghanistan

Afghan shared a 127-run stand with Mohammad Nabi.

Asghar Afghan compiled a gritty hand of 86 to help Afghanistan recover from a precarious position and propel them to a total of 249 for 7 in the final ODI of the three-match series versus West Indies in Lucknow.

At 118 for 5, when the experienced Mohammad Nabi (50 not out) joined forces with Asghar, the Asian nation were in a spot of bother. At that stage, the pair took a sensible approach by dealing in a diet of singles and twos. Occasionally, Afghan also took the aggressive route, capsulised by the way he skipped down the track to tonk Hayden Walsh into the downtown territories.

However, it was only in the 43rd over that the pair looked to break free. Romario Shepherd, with his singly action, banged one short but Asghar was up to the task as he cracked a forceful pull that easily cleared the boundary. Nabi also joined in the act by drilling the same bowler through covers for a four.

Asghar then continued to showcase his footwork against spin by going inside-out to loft Walsh over the extra cover region. He also brought the 100-run stand with Nabi by hitting Keemo Paul down the ground for a six. In the penultimate over too, the former Afghanistan captain clobbered a couple more sixes off Joseph before he spooned a catch to the fielder at short third man. However, by then, he and Nabi had powered Afghanistan to a competitive score.

Earlier, after Afghanistan were inserted into bat, West Indies made incisions at regular intervals to peg the home team back. Ibrahim Zadran, the debutant, was the first one to be dismissed after he was trapped in front by Alzarri Joseph. The tall pacer deserved the credit for prising out the opener, as he bowled a couple of deliveries outside off before he went slightly wide of the crease to trap Zadran in front with an inswinging yorker.

Hazratullah Zazai, who has been struggling for form, strung together a partnership of 30 with Rahmat Shah to raise hopes of a recovery. Unfortunately, for the Afghanistan side, Shah fell to a soft dismissal, pulling a short of a length delivery from Paul to midwicket. Ikram Ali didn't last long while Zazai threw his wicket away after completing his fifty.

To make matters worse, Najibullah, who has been in fine form, fell to Roston Chase. At that juncture, Afghanistan needed a partnership of substance, and the duo of Nabi and Ashgar provided the much-needed timely resistance. For the West Indies, Paul picked up three wickets while Chase ended up with noteworthy figures of 1 for 24 from 10 overs.

The track is offering some grip and Afghanistan would fancy their chances of sealing a consolation win.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 249/7 in 50 overs (Asghar Afghan 86, Mohammad Nabi 50*; Keemo Paul 3-44) v West Indies.

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