Afghanistan squeeze past Windies to keep World Cup dream alive
Rahmat Shah's half-century helped Afghanistan to a three-wicket win over West Indies that keeps alive their hopes of reaching the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Afghanistan came into Thursday's opening Super Six clash of the Qualifier having carried no points through from the first round - their only victory coming against the eliminated Nepal.
Touted as favourites alongside the Windies to claim one of the two spots for next year's finals in England, the Blue Tigers need to win all three Super Six encounters to have a chance.
And they got off to a promising start in Harare, restricting their opponents - who won all four group-stage games - to 197-8.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman starred with the ball, taking 3-33 while the Windies could get nothing going with the bat - Chris Gayle setting the tone by departing for just one while Shai Hope top-scored with 43 and the only man to make his runs at better than run-a-ball was captain Jason Holder (28 off 26).
Afghanistan lost both openers for single figures but number three Rahmat steadied the ship with a patient 68 from 109 balls. He was fifth out to leave his side needing 46 off just under 10 overs but skipper Rashid Khan was there at the end to complete the chase with 14 deliveries remaining.
Afghanistan beat @westindies by 3 wickets in the first match of the super six stage in ICC World Cup Qualifier. @MujeebR99 was declared the player of the match for his amazing bowling today. #AFGvWI #CWCQ #RoadToCWC19 pic.twitter.com/EnMNVUQ5TJ-- Afghan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) March 15, 2018
West Indies have been replaced atop the Super Six table by Scotland, who defeated United Arab Emirates by 73 runs in Bulawayo.
Opener Matthew Cross' 114 and 78 from Calum MacLeod set Scotland up for a daunting 322-6 and UAE fell well short with only Muhammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50) offering much hope.
Meanwhile, Nepal secured their ODI status after overcoming Papua New Guinea by six wickets in their play-off.