AFGHANISTAN VS WEST INDIES IN INDIA, 2019
Can Rashid Khan spark Afghanistan’s turnaround? © Getty
Afghanistan walk into the three-match T20I series after being swept aside 0-3 in the ODI series, stretching a wretched run in the 50-over format to 12 consecutive games. Their arrival of their favourite format should offer some respite, but here too, the stats don’t paint a pretty picture. They haven’t beaten the West Indies in T20Is since 2016 and have since lost three consecutive matches in 2017 in the Caribbean.
Afghanistan have been far from the side they can be. In the tri-series in Bangladesh, even Zimbabwe managed to squeeze past the Rashid Khan-led side before the washout in the final. Lack of runs hurt Afghanistan in the ODI series and it’s the batsmen who will have to lead the resurgence. In the first two ODIs, they scored 194 and 200, which, given the conditions, were unacceptable. They did show signs of getting their act together in the final ODI before Shai Hope helped West Indies complete the series white-wash.
As sides look to build towards the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next year, they’ll have to stop relying on their bowlers – especially spinners – to always do the job. West Indies, on the other hand, have always liked the shortest format and have the spunk to outplay any opposition on their day. It’s the consistency they’ll look to achieve as they try and discover their team balance.
What: Afghanistan vs West Indies, 1st T20I, 1900 IST
Where: Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow
What to expect: Expect batsmen to find it much easier in the T20I series with an evening start. Dew and therefore the toss will play a central role in handing one team an early ascendancy.
Afghanistan: The first question ahead of the think-tank will be of Gulbadin Naib. Does the all-rounder deserve a place in the eleven after being dropped in the ODI series? The eyes will also be trained on Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the young ‘keeper, as they look to move on from Mohammad Shahazad.
West Indies: They will be without Nicholas Pooran, who has been suspended for four matches for changing the condition of the ball in the final ODI. Brandon King could also make his debut while Lendl Simmons could make a comeback to the side having last played a T20I in 2017 against Afghanistan.
Afghanistan:Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Mohammad Nabi, Javed Ahmadi, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan(c), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Malik, Karim Janat, Naveen-ul-Haq, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sayed Shirzad
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard(c), Denesh Ramdin (w), Sherfane Rutherford, Fabian Allen, Kesrick Williams, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Alzarri Joseph