ICC World Cup 2019: Match 42, Afghanistan vs Windies, Preview – Fallen warriors battle for pride at Headingley
Afghanistan don't want to finish without any points to their name.
Published - Jul 3, 2019 12:47 pm | Updated - Jan 24, 2020 7:02 pm
Afghanistan and the West Indies took the longest possible road to reach the World Cup, having failed to secure direct qualification. Afghanistan won the qualifiers tournament last year defeating the Windies in the final and it seemed like both these sides could make a statement in the main tournament. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
West Indies lost two games in a heartbreaking way and a few other pretty convincingly. They never really made a strong case for themselves apart from the brilliant performance against Pakistan and the close shave against Australia. All they can hope for now is to bow down with dignity.
Afghanistan don’t want to finish without any points to their name. They currently have 8 defeats in as many fixtures and are on the verge of finishing last on the table with nothingness shining in their points tally. There were many expectations from them and they did drive India and Pakistan to the last over before bowing out, but now is their final chance to get something meaningful.
Sayed Shirzad could come in to replace the retired Hamid Hassan for Afghanistan. Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah was not the opening pair they started with, but they will continue with them. Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shinwari will be crucial in the middle order. Rashid Khan has picked just five wickets this tournament whilst Mujeeb has taken just 7. It has been a disappointing tournament for them but they will be keen to finish on a high.
Gulbadin Naib (c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Sayed Shirzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Chris Gayle will be opening with Sunil Ambris for the final time in England with Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran once again taking the middle order responsibility. Shimron Hetmyer is yet to convert one of his starts into a big knock this tournament and Fabian Allen chipped in with a promising fifty last game. Kemar Roach could come into the XI to replace Shannon Gabriel if he’s fit. No other changes are expected in the bowling department.
Chris Gayle, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach/Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
Focus will be on
Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan)
No one was under the scrutiny that Gulbadin Naib was after the performance against Pakistan. The captain took up a responsibility on his shoulder which he need not have and ended up getting blasted. It will be interesting to see how he responds and also how the fans will respond. He has been a brilliant servant to Afghan cricket but not winning a single game in an ICC tournament would be a humiliation he would want to avoid as a captain.
Chris Gayle (Windies)
Definitely, for the last time in World Cups, the universe boss will take center stage and will be hogging more limelight than any other West Indies cricketer on the day. He is also chasing Brian Lara’s all-time ODI runs tally, which makes up for a very interesting day for their side. His charisma and aura will truly be missed in cricket’s most grandiose tournament.
Head to head
Matches played – 5 | Afghanistan won – 3 | Windies won – 1 | No result – 1
20 – Chris Gayle needs 20 runs to overtake Brian Lara and become Windies’ all-time highest run-scorer in ODIs.
TV – Star Sports
Online – Hotstar
Match Timings – 15:00 IST; 10:30 local