Afghanistan vs West Indies ODI series preview : A fresh start under new leadership for both teams

Adithya Sundar 00:20 06/11/2019
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The three-match ODI series at Lucknow marks a new beginning for both the West Indies and Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan’s ODI captaincy tenure begins after the 21-year-old led his team to their first ever Test win against Bangladesh.

This will be Afghanistan’s first 50-over assignment after their abysmal 2019 World Cup campaign where they lost all nine group games.

The Windies too have a new look to their set up with their squad comprising of stars from the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.

They’ve a new skipper in Kieron Pollard, who will be playing in his first ODI since 2016.

Phil Simmons makes a return as a head coach after his fallout with the board and ensuing exit in 2017.

The series presents the Windies with the best chance of breaking their five-year barren run without an ODI series win.

The battle of the leg-spinners

CPL star Walsh. Jr.

CPL star Walsh. Jr.

The track in Lucknow is expected to assist spin in the second innings and both teams will be hoping that their spinners can exploit the conditions.

Rashid Khan is one of the best white ball spinners in world cricket and he reserves his best for the Windies.

He has so far picked up 13 wickets in five ODI innings against the Windies, collecting wickets at a stunning strike-rate of 22.

The team from the Caribbean have an inform leg-spinner in their ranks as well. Hayden Walsh Jr, the wrist-spinner who made his international debut for the USA earlier this year, was sensational in CPL 2019.

He picked up 22 wickets in just nine games at an economy rate of 8.28 and is expected to make his maiden appearance on Wednesday.

A slug fest is on the cards

Afghanistan’s top-order includes Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan.

While Zazai is yet to have an impact in his fledgling ODI career, he has earned a reputation in the shortest format, with his 12-ball fifty last year and the unbeaten 162 off 62 balls against Ireland in 2019.

Shah has scored a fifty in each of his last three ODI innings against the West Indies while Afghan averages 53.37 in ODIs played in India.

The West Indies batting though maddeningly inconsistent, is always formidable on paper.

A lineup that includes Elvin Lewis, Shimron Hetmeyer, Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King would intimidate the bowlers.

King, who was the top scorer in CPL 2019, raked up 496 runs at a strike rate just under 150, while Shai Hope will be expected to anchor the innings in this team of big-hitters.

Head-to-Head
Afghanistan lead 3-2 in the ODI format against West Indies. However, the recent most meeting was won by the West Indies team during the 2019 CWC by a 23-run margin.

SQUADS

West Indies

Kieron Pollard (capt), Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd.

Afghanistan

Rashid Khan (captain), Asghar Afghan, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Afsar Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Sharafudin Ashraf, Ibrahim Zadran, Yamin Ahmadzai, Naveen-ul-Haq, Ikram Alikhil, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman.

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