Basseterre - Sunil Narine snared three wickets and
mesmerised Afghanistan to set up a six-wicket win for the West Indies in the
first fixture of a three-match T20 International series at Warner Park in St
Kitts on Friday.
Having missed out on the meeting with the Afghans at last
year's World T20 due to issues with his bowling action, the off-spinner was at
his unplayable best in taking three for 11 off his four-over allotment as the
visitors were dismissed for 110 batting first.
Marlon Samuels then struck a fluent 35 to lead the home
side's romp to victory with almost four overs to spare to take a 1-0 lead ahead
of the second match at the same venue on Saturday.
"Getting back into action in West Indies colours is
always an enjoyable thing," said Narine after receiving the "Man of
the Match" award. "I am always trying different things with my
bowling and tonight they came off pretty well."
Afghanistan's top order, including captain Asghar Stanikzai
who had chosen to bat first, showed little responsibility at the crease and a
succession of reckless shots saw them slipping to 58 for eight in the 14th over
and in danger of falling below their previous lowest T20 International score of
However Rashid Khan, with a T20 best of 33, and 21 from
fellow spinner Amir Hamza gave the innings a measure of respectability as 52
runs were added by the last two wickets.
Khan and Hamza then hinted at what might have been possible
with a more competitive total as the two specialist spinners proved more than a
handful for Samuels and the other frontline West Indies batsmen.
Fast-medium bowler Shapoor Zadran claimed two expensive
wickets but it was the guile and variations of the slow bowlers which presented
the greatest challenge although they did not enjoy much reward, Khan dismissing
Lendl Simmons just before victory was achieved.
"It's always important to start with a win and we did
what was required," said West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite.
"Their tail held us up a bit and I thought we lost too many wickets, but
generally it was a satisfying effort."
West Indies went into the match without experienced
all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who is sidelined with the flu. Uncapped fast bowler
Ronsford Beaton was the other player omitted from the squad of 13.
Afghanistan retained the same 11 which defeated a Cricket
West Indies President's XI in a warm-up match at the same venue two days
"We needed to get at least 30-40 more runs to be
competitive," said a disappointed Stanikzai. "We know what we have to
do to improve and I expect us to come back stronger for the second match."
In their only previous senior international meeting,
Afghanistan defeated the West Indies by six runs at the 2016 World T20 although
the Caribbean side went on to lift the title for the second time in four years.
Since that upset win, Afghanistan had won another ten
consecutive T20 Internationals against Associate Member nations while the West
Indies won just two of nine matches since defeating England in the World T20
final 14 months ago.