“West Indies are a dangerous team, an advantage to us” – Nicholas Pooran’s warning before Super 8

Nicholas Pooran starred as West Indies got a statement win in their final T20 World Cup group game, beating Afghanistan by 104 runs in St Lucia on Monday. (Full Coverage | Cricket News)

Both sides had already qualified for the Super 8s, but West Indies ensured they finished unbeaten in Group C, breaking a few records along the way.

Afghanistan had no answers to the co-hosts’ dominant batting performance, with Johnson Charles getting 43 off 27 balls before Pooran plundered 98 off 53 balls, including six fours and eight sixes.

He was run out in the final over while searching for his century, but Shai Hope (25) and Rovman Powell (26) had already helped push West Insides towards the highest total of the tournament so far with 218-5.

West Indies did not let up during the Afghanistan chase, starting strongly when Akeal Hosein had Rashid Khan caught for a duck in a wicket maiden to start.

Obed McCoy was the standout though, as he took 3-14, including Ibrahim Zadran, who was starting to build some momentum with his 38, leaving Afghanistan all out for 114 with 22 balls remaining.

West Indies meet holders England in their first Super 8 match on Wednesday, while Afghanistan face India the following day.

West Indies’ score of 218 was their highest-ever at the T20 World Cup, while they also registered the highest powerplay score with 92, beating the Netherlands’ record of 91 against Ireland in 2014.

In the fourth over alone, they scored 36 runs – equalling the record for the most expansive over in men’s T20s.

Pooran has scored the joint-most sixes in the tournament so far (13, along with USA’s Aaron Jones), and has broken the record for the most sixes (128) in T20s for West Indies, going past Chris Gayle’s 124.

His total of 98 was also the highest individual total at this World Cup, carrying him past 2000 runs in T20Is.

Pooran suggested that he took it upon himself to help West Indies reach a winning total of 218 runs.

“You don’t want to be on 97 (98) and get run-out, but it was all about reaching a respectable total. I assessed the conditions early on. We had a good start in the powerplay. I had to take responsibility in the middle overs with the Afghanistan spinners bowling. I just felt that it was my night and I could get on with it,” Pooran said while speaking to the broadcasters after the match.

How Pooran stitched his innings?

“It’s difficult to strike the ball when it’s a little slow and spinning, but when you get a good wicket like this, you got to capitalise, got to appreciate the conditions. It’s just not today, it started 12–14 months ago. We have been consistent as a team. We went to No. 3 in the rankings. In the last game, Rutherford took the opportunity and played wonderfully. He inspired us.”

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