Nicholas Pooran powers West Indies to a thumping win over Afghanistan to end the group stage of World Cup

Pooran was at his absolute best against Afghanistan. (PC:

After a low-scoring group stage in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, the final Group C game turned into a run-fest. West Indies set the highest score of the tournament, thanks to a scintillating innings from Nicholas Pooran, against Afghanistan at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St Lucia, on an excellent batting wicket. To chase down a record total of 219, the onus was on Afghanistan’s openers to do the bulk of the scoring, but unfortunately for the Afghans, they couldn’t do it. They lost by 104 runs.

Afghanistan’s troubles began early when Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed for a duck in the first over by Akeal Hosein. Ibrahim Zadran showed some resistance with a few powerful shots, but he couldn’t continue as he was dismissed at a crucial juncture of the game. Gudakesh Motie and Obed McCoy then took three wickets in two overs, putting the game out of Afghanistan’s reach. Wickets continued to fall as the Afghan batters struggled to clear the boundary.

After Azmatullah Omarzai’s brief contribution, no other batter could make a significant impact, leading to a middle-order collapse — a persistent issue for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan hit a few boundaries towards the end, but it was clear that his efforts would not be enough to turn the game around.

The West Indies came out aggressively right from start. Despite losing Brandon King early, Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran launched a relentless assault on the Afghan bowlers. Charles had a somewhat scratchy and edgy start but managed to consistently find the boundary. When Pooran joined the action, he immediately began launching the ball into the stands with clean, powerful strikes. These two took full advantage of the Powerplay, accumulating 92 runs, the highest Powerplay score in T20 World Cup history, thoroughly dismantling the opposition’s bowling attack.

Charles, eventually, fell for 43 but not before ensuring a blistering start for his team. The West Indies middle order continued the onslaught with a flurry of sixes, not giving Afghanistan any chance to recover. Pooran, who was on the rampage, scored a brilliant half-century before falling just two runs short of his T20I century. His explosive innings kept the run rate around 10 runs per over. Captain Rovman Powell contributed a solid 26 runs before being dismissed by Gulbadin in the penultimate over. However, Afghanistan’s bowlers were unable to stem the flow of runs, conceding 70 runs in the last five overs.

Pooran’s innings was laced with eight towering sixes, but he narrowly missed out on his century by just two runs. West Indies ended their innings at a formidable total of 218. A standout moment of Pooran’s performance was the 36 runs he scored in a single over off Azmatullah Omarzai.