Dejected Afghanistan aim to break their duck | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, July 04, 2019

Dejected Afghanistan aim to break their duck

Universe Boss Chris Gayle has failed to make any sort of impact at the World Cup so far, but he will be hoping to rectify that when he meets Afghanistan today. The 39-year-old will be especially hoping to make it an ocassion to remember as it will be his last World Cup match. PHOTO: AFP FILE

Afghanistan, who have been winless at the 2019 World Cup so far, despite displaying flashes of brilliance, will look to end their campaign on a high as they face West Indies in their last match today.

It was a heart-break against Pakistan, much like it was against India, as the Gulbadin Naib-led side let the game drift away from their grasp at critical junctures. While the spinners have lived up to their reputation with consistent performances throughout the tournament, the fast bowlers and the batting unit have failed to contribute significantly to the team’s cause.

Afghanistan will, however, be quietly confident as they take the field against West Indies - an opponent they have beaten thrice in four completed matches, including the 7-wicket triumph in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier final last year.

West Indies, much like Afghanistan have failed to produce an all-round performance, barring their opening match victory against Pakistan - their only success in this World Cup so far. While Sheldon Cottrell has been a star performer with the ball, the batsmen, despite some good individual performances have failed to put up a significant total due to the lack of partnerships.

Skipper Jason Holder will look to inspire his team to play with full intensity in their final game of the 2019 World Cup.

18-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been Afghanistan’s strike bowler with the new ball throughout the World Cup. Mujeeb, who had starred with the ball in the World Cup Qualifier final last year with figures of 4/43, will once again be Gulbadin’s key weapon on Thursday.

On the other hand, Shai Hope, West Indies’ wicket-keeper batsman who came into the World Cup as the fourth ranked batsman in the ODI Batting Rankings, has managed to score only 197 runs in seven innings so far. Hope will look to shoulder the responsibility of holding the innings together, as his solid technique makes him a key batsman against a strong Afghanistan spin attack.

Early brightness will soon fade away as cloud thickens from the north. It would be a warmer day but could be breezy at times with moderate westerly winds. Batting might get difficult in the second innings, much like it did in the two previous games played at Headingley and hence toss could play a vital role.

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