West Indies have had a disappointing campaign. They started the competition with lots of hope. They had a drawn series at home earlier this year against number 1 team England and in their warm-up game, they racked by 400+ against New Zealand. Their first game of the tournament against Pakistan led their fans to believe that probably West Indies will have a good tournament this time. Things did not go as planned for the men in maroon as after that game against Pakistan they did not manage to win a single game.
They did fight hard against New Zealand and Australia but again their loss to India last week proved the kind of mental state the team is in at the moment. The batting has completely fallen apart and their bowling which hasn’t been that bad but again they took too long to play the right combinations. Chris Gayle whose presence was supposed to inspire and help West Indies hasn’t been consistent enough to provide a good platform for the middle order to build on and the middle order hasn’t been able to carry the team after top order failures.
For Afghanistan through this tournament is learning as to what they would need to do to improve at the highest level. They have the raw materials and amazing talent but need more experience to be able to turn those close games into victories. Their batters need to play with more responsibility and should convert their pretty 20’s and 30’s into big ones to make a difference. In terms of the bowling though they do need a couple of good pacers to compete on all type of wickets. They are good on the slow and low surfaces due to their spinners but struggle when the pitch has something in it for the pacers. They probably would need to work on that. Their captain Gulbadin Naib also would probably need to step back and learn from few tactical errors he committed through the tournament.
Head to head:
Interesting head to head stats between the two teams as Afghanistan has a 3-1 advantage over West Indies.
Chris Gayle (West Indies): Chris Gayle shocked everyone with his sudden U-turn on this retirement from cricket. Whether he plays another game for West Indies or not this will in all probability be his last World Cup appearance. He will surely want to end his glittering career with a big score. He has been a legend in the limited overs format for West Indies and his team will be hoping for one last hurrah.
Kemar Roach (West Indies): Roach should have been playing for West Indies from the start of the tournament. He is their most experienced pacer and bowls differently to the rest of the bowlers in the squad. He bowled brilliantly against India and against a struggling Afghanistan top order he will be crucial with the new ball.
Rahmat Shah (Afghanistan): Rahmat Shah looked golden against Pakistan. Till the time he was at the crease, he looked completely at ease against both pace and spin but again as all his fellow teammates have done in this tournament, he threw away a great start. He will be looking to end the tournament on a high and will be hoping to get a big one.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan): West Indies are a top-heavy team and with Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle and Shai Hope they have a star-studded top order. Mujeeb has been taking the new ball for Afghanistan and has been in brilliant form taking wickets as well. He will be required to not only put the breaks on scoring but also to takes wickets at the start.
What they said?
“Looking back at the eight games we’ve played, I personally thought we should have won four of those, we were very close. We just didn’t play the big moments well. Hopefully, we can learn from that and prepare for the next one.” Said West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick analyzing the tournament for his team
“West Indies is one of those danger sides, nobody expects how they will play. For us, it is a World Cup game. So every game is very important for us. It all depends on our batting. If we can put a good total then it is difficult for other teams on this kind of turning surfaces. ” Said captain Gulbadin Naib hoping for a win to finish the tournament.
Gulbadin Naib (c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
West Indies XI:
Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Ashley Nurse
Both these teams would want to end this tournament on a high. Even though much wasn’t expected of Afghanistan they were thought of a team would cause an upset or two which did not happen. They have beaten West Indies in the past and won the World Cup qualifying tournament finals against them. This will be an interesting match up as it is hard to pick a winner among these two. West Indies have a slight edge but again as the Afghanistan Skipper said if his team bats well it will hard to beat them.