Afghanistan vs West Indies in the ICC World Cup 2019 on July 4th (Thursday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played at Headingley, Leeds, and will begin at 1500 HRS IST. You can also follow all the action on our live blog (AFG vs WI).
On the face of it, Match 42 of the World Cup 2019 might look a dull dead rubber with both sides out of the semi-final race but recent rivalry between West Indies and Afghanistan might make this contest an exciting affair.
The two sides have faced each other just five times in One-Day Internationals and Afghanistan have gotten the better of the Islanders on three occasions with West Indies winning once while one game was washed out. West Indies and Afghanistan clashed twice at the World Cup Qualifiers 2018, in Zimbabwe and the Asian side won on both occasions. West Indies, who will be hurt after losing some close encounters in the ongoing tournament will be seeking revenge and want to end their campaign on a high.
It won't be easy though. Afghanistan have momentum on their side after running both India and Pakistan close. A few correct decisions and a little bit luck might well have seen Afghanistan get the better of their neighbours but then hindsight is always a beautiful thing. The bottom line is that Afghanistan are at the bottom of the points table and are yet to register on the board. West Indies are placed ninth with just one win to their name so there really isn't much to differentiate between the two sides.
West Indies started off their campaign on an absolute high by demolishing Pakistan. They have, however, tapered off since then managing just one win in their next seven games, with one outing against South Africa washed out. There has been the odd individual brilliance from Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer but the collective effort is what West Indies have sorely lacked.
Chris Gayle's underwhelming World Cup has also not helped them in any way. But a win in their final match will be a nice way to exit the big stage something Jason Holder said his side will be hoping for.
Afghanistan, who have proved time and again they can't be written off as minnows, gave heavyweights India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka a run for their money during the tournament. All three sides struggled against the potent Afghan bowling attack that boasts the likes of Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Rashid Khan.
Their batting though has been the real problem. In totality, Afghanistan have managed just three half-centuries in the entirety of this tournament and let's face it, that just does not cut it on the World Cup stage. The batsmen have managed to get starts but none of them have managed to get the big scores chasing relatively lesser scores in some of the games.
Against a relatively weaker bowling unit, Afghanistan will be keen on putting on a good score on the board, something they have not managed at all this World Cup. Their captain Gulbadin Naib will marshal his troops once again and will hope his spinners weave their magic one last time before they head back home.
Last five ODIs:
West Indies: L L L L L
West Indies started like a train running Pakistan ragged but have little to show for since then. They came close in a number of games but failed to cross the finishing hurdle. They have suffered five successive losses and will dearly want close out with a win.
Afghanistan: L L L L L
It has really been a sorry tournament for Afghanistan. They came with a lot of promise but have failed to deliver. They did run India and Pakistan close and should have ideally closed the game but with eight losses on the trot, it will need a lot of inspiration from somewhere to get Afghanistan back to winning ways.
Players to watch out for:
Rashid Khan: The leg-spinner has had a disappointing tournament in comparison to the lofty standards that he sets for himself managing just five wickets in eight outings. But West Indies is a side he has done well against traditionally. His best bowling figures of 7/18 came against the Islanders back in 2017 and Rashid will hope for similar returns come Thursday.
Nicholas Pooran: West Indies' highest scorer so far in this tournament and by a fair distance, Pooran recorded his maiden ODI century against Sri Lanka almost taking his side to a famous win. He was the second-last man to be dismissed and that would certainly be hurting the left-hander. He has one more knock to prove he belongs to the highest level and Pooran will be keen on making it count at Leeds.
Afghanistan: With not much to lose, Afghanistan can afford to make a few changes. Hamid Hassan is certainly out after injuring himself in the last game. They might also bring in an extra pacer for the encounter.
West Indies: West Indies too might look to give Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo some game time. Kemar Roach's availability remains uncertain. If fit, he might slot in for Shannon Gabriel.
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Ambris, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Darren Bravo, Fabian Allen.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (captain), Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Samiullah Shinwari, Rahmat Shah, Noor Ali Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil.
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