Series on the line as Afghanistan aim to end winless streak
AFGHANISTAN V WEST INDIES, 2019
Shai Hope anchored the innings in the first ODI with an unbeaten 77 © Getty
Afghanistan have had a torrid time in ODIs in 2019 racking up 14 losses in the 18 games they’ve played so far. Their four wins this year came before the World Cup and they’ve now lost ten consecutive matches with the latest against West Indies in the first ODI. They now find themselves desperate to turn things around – not only to keep the series alive but also find a way out of the rut.
While the side will be looking at Rashid Khan to turn things around for them, the captain himself will be hoping the batting unit can bail him out. Rahmat Shah and Ikram Ali Khil struck half-centuries to give West Indies a challenge but their century stand was spectacularly thrown away by the other batsmen as they folded for a sub-par score. With wins not coming, it’ll get increasingly hard for the management to stay patient.
Hazratullah Zazai’s highest score in his last ten ODIs has been 34, while the experienced Javed Ahmadi has thrown away starts in two of his last three games. Afghanistan need the openers to fire and give the team a platform to build on. With Ibrahim Zadran in the squad, it won’t be long before one of the openers is asked to make way unless they start producing results.
Despite the easy win for West Indies, Shimron Hetmyer’s form will be a concern for the visitors. However, with Shai Hope and Roston Chase starting well in the series, West Indies can bank on them to nullify the Afghanistan spinners. Kieran Pollard’s ODI captaincy debut went as planned, and a series win will certainly put the side on track as they try to build after a dismal World Cup campaign.
What: Afghanistan vs West Indies, 2nd ODI, 2pm IST
Where: Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow
What to expect: Conditions have become much better but the pollution levels are still very severe. Overcast conditions are likely to welcome the teams and the dew factors shouldn’t trouble the two sides.
Afghanistan: With openers struggling, Ibrahim Zadran could well be picked to make his ODI debut. However, the management isn’t likely to chop and change a lot.
West Indies: After the win in the first game, it’s unlikely the side will make any changes.
West Indies Squad: Shai Hope(w), Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard(c), Jason Holder, Sheldon Cottrell, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh, Alzarri Joseph, Sunil Ambris, Brandon King, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre.
Afghanistan Squad: Hazratullah Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan(c), Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afsar Zazai, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Karim Janat, Ibrahim Zadran.