Barbados ended the "Asia vs the Caribbean" series yesterday as whipping boys, losing to Afghanistan by five wickets at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain in a listless display.
Perhaps it was the fact that four key players were rested—including former skipper Ryan Hinds, regular skipper Kirk Edwards, fiery pacer Kemar Roach and in-form Shai Hope—but the Bajans limped to 119 for nine in their 20 overs, before being manhandled in a 66-run partnership between Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai, which lifted the Asians to 122 for five and sealed Barbados' fate.
Nabi topscored with 40, while Stanikzai was 34 not out when the match ended in the 18th over.
It meant Barbados lost all three of their matches, while Afghanistan were waiting after press time last night for the result between Trinidad and Tobago and Bangladesh to determine the champs. Bangladeshi victory would have made them unbeaten in the tournament, handing them the US$50,000 first prize, but a T&T win meant run rate would determine the champs between those two teams and Afghanistan.
The Afghan innings was at a crossroads last night in the ninth over, with the score 50 for three. Having scored eight, they lost Javed Ahmadi cheaply for two, a victim of Kevin Stoute, while it was 35 for two when tortured opener/wicketkeeper Mohammad Shehzad (nine), who got good starts of 24 and 29 in the earlier matches, was caught at midwicket by Omar Phillips off Kyle Mayers.
Afghan captain Nawroz Mangal got a good start, but was run out for 20 with his team on 38. But that brought Nabi and Stanikzai together, and they set about the innings positively to take their team to 104 in the 15th over.
They kept the score ticking over until they consolidated, then launched their attack. Nabi in particular was brutal, smashing Ashley Nurse for consecutive sixes in the 12th over, while Stanikzai also punished Mayers with a big hit over midwicket.
And when Nabi departed for a well-played 40, caught by Nurse off Carter at long on, Gulbodin Naib stepped in with a straight six off the same bowler, before Stanikzai finished the match with a resounding hit in front of square in the 18th over.
Barbados lost the toss, but still it did not explain the lack of energy and application in their batting. Halfway through they were struggling at 43 for four, with opener Omar Phillips (eight) and Rashidi Boucher (six), as well as Roston Chase (seven) and Johnathan Carter (seven) back in the Brian Lara Pavilion, all through poor shot selection.
Phillips edged a swipe behind, Boucher and Chase holed out to Dawlat Zadran and Naib, respectively, and Carter was bowled attempting a massive heave.
Kyle Mayers made the difference between a competitive score and an embarrassing one. He came in after watching the other Barbados opener, stand-in captain Shamarh Brooks, loft a ball into the lap of Shafiquallah, having played a measured 22 off 29 balls.
He watched the big hitting Alcindo Holder perish to a spectacular one-handed catch from Shahzad behind the stumps, and Morris hole out after thrashing Izatullah over midwicket with a fierce hit.
Mayers chanced his hand, and finished with four attractive boundaries. He also hammered Nabi for a big hit.
Even with Nurse and Stoute departing to ill-judged swipes, Mayers and last man Jason Holder saw Barbados to a total that gave them a fighting chance.
And after three early wickets they had just that, until Nabi and Stanikzai powered their team to safety.
Afghanistan vs Barbados
O Phillips c wk Shahzad b Naib 8
R Boucher c Mangal b Zadran 6
S Brooks c Shafiquallah b Izatullah 22 (long on) 29
R Chase c Nabi b Naib 7
J Carter b Nabi 6
A Holder c wk Shahzad b Izatullah 6
K Mayers not out 39
C Morris lbw Nabi 9
A Nurse c wk Shahzad b Izatullah 0
K Stoute c Shafiquallah b Nabi 2
J Holder not out 4
Extras (w 9, nb 1) 10
Total (20 overs; 9 wkts) 119
Bowling: Zadran 4-0-20-1 (wd 3); Naib 4-0-19-2 (wd 3); Baras 3-0-16-0; Nabi 4-0-23-3 (nb 1); Izatullah 4-0-29-3 (wd 1); Shenwari 1-0-12-0 (wd 2).
Fall of Wickets: 14, 20, 34, 43, 61, 75, 87, 88, 103.
M Shahzad c Phillips b Mayers 9
J Ahmadi c Holder b Stoute 5
N Mangal run out Mayers 20
M Nabi c Nurse b Carter 40
A Stanikzai not out 34
G Naib run out Chase 6
S Shenwari not out 1
Extras (6 w, 1 nb, 1 b 2lb) 10
Total (17.1 overs, 5 wkts) 122
Did not bat: Shafiquallah, Izatullah Dawlatzai, Nasim Baras, Shapoor Zadran.
Bowling: Holder 4-0-21-0 (1w); Stoute 4-0-30-1 (4w, 1nb); Mayers 4-0-21-1; Nurse 2-0-18-0; Chase 2-0-17-0 (1w), Carter 1.1-0-11-1
Fall of Wickets: 8, 35, 38, 104, 111.
Result: Afghanistan won by five wickets
Afghanistan 2 pts, Barbados 0