LUCKNOW    -    Roston Chase and Shai Hope struck fine half-centuries as West Indies produced an all-round effort to register a comfortable seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first ODI of the three-match series on Wednesday.

That came courtesy a superbly-paced third-wicket stand between the West Indies duo worth 163 runs, during which both raised their respective half-centuries. Afghanistan were first dented by their abysmal batting effort - despite fifties from Ibrahim Ali Khil and Rahmat Shah - and then let down by a bowling effort that was restrictive, but not incisive, which was the order of the day after they posted a paltry 194.

West Indies profited from the early hint of movement that helped them ping Afghanistan on the backfoot early after new captain Kieron Pollard decided to bowl first. Sheldon Cottrell and Jason Holder did a fine job of probing the openers and dismissing them early, bringing together Ikram and Rahmat for a reconstruction.

From 15 for 2, they did a fine job with the recovery, but did not do a thorough job of it a la Chase and Hope. Both Ikram and Rahmat got to their fifties, but a schoolboy error from the former, led to a break in partnership against the run of play. Ikram failed to notify the West Indies players or the umpire that he was getting out of the crease after completing a run to go and congratulate his batting partner for reaching his personal milestone. Shai Hope still had the ball in his hand when Ikram went wandering, and rightfully knocked the bails off.

The wicket gave West Indies a way to carve the Afghanistan line-up open, pushing them from 126 for 2 to 194 all out by the 46th over. Afghanistan pined for one such breakthrough, but it didn’t come until West Indies were just seven runs away from the target.

Chase, who starred in the first innings with two crucial blows that left Afghanistan vulnerable to a collapse, came back to haunt the home side with an exceptional knock of 94 from 115 deliveries. He and Hope (77 not out) charted the way forward for West Indies after Shimron Hetmyer followed Evin Lewis back to the pavilion early in the chase.

They resurrected the chase from as early as the eighth over and expertly maneuvered West Indies out of the early trouble. While they calmly saw off Mohammad Nabi, they got enough runs going against Gulbadin Naib from the other end to ensure they didn’t slip into a defensive shell. 49 runs came between the 10th and the 20th over that set the tone for the partnership, and the chase on the whole.

The next 10 overs fetched just 32 runs, but this was a period where Rashid Khan bowled four of his overs, and was smartly negotiated with. With the lead spinner unable to breach the pair, Afghanistan were swiftly running out of ideas while West Indies slowly but steadily ate into the deficit.

The pair’s confidence in the middle was particularly on display when they decided to have a go at even Rashid in his last three overs, picking four boundaries off it. Rashid finished with 0 for 43, while the West Indies pair coolly went past their respective half-centuries.

Mujeeb, who provided the first breakthrough, managed to break the big partnership, but it was too little too late. Expectedly, Afghanistan captain Rashid felt his side were undone by their poor batting show and a severely under-par total that West Indies went past in the 47th over.