Afghanistan and West Indies lock horns in the second One-Day International (ODI) at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium, Lucknow on Saturday. West Indies won the first ODI at the same venue comprehensively and will look to seal the series with one match to play.
The two sides have played each other seven times in ODIs. West Indies and Afghanistan have won three each while one match yielded a no-result. It’s all square even if we look at the last five ODIs, with the teams having won two matches apiece.
The first match of the series was the first ever ODI played at the Ekana Stadium, Lucknow. It was a match that saw something in it for the pacers early on and later on, the spinners came into play. However, the team winning the toss will want to bat first as dew will play a large role in the latter stages of the match, like it did in the first match, which saw the Afghanistan bowlers finding it difficult to grip the ball.
Shai Hope has been in magnificent form in 2019. He has already scored 971 runs at 51.10 and scored a patient unbeaten 133-ball 77 to take his side home in the first ODI. During his knock he also registered the highest ODI average for West Indies among those who have played at least 20 matches. He is 29 runs shy of becoming the sixth and the first West Indies player to register 1,000 runs this calendar year. It’s a pity that Hope played at No. 3 throughout the World Cup, when he ideally should have been opening the batting for West Indies – a position where he has been among the best in the world.
Despite going wicketless in the first match, Rashid Khan is still a crucial figure in the Afghanistan set-up. He failed to trouble any batsmen and the fact that there was dew certainly did not help his cause. But he has some deadly variations up his sleeve that has outfoxed many batsmen in the past and even though he failed to do so in the first game, one cannot rule out his effectiveness in this match. In ODIs since 2018, while Rashid’s leg-break deliveries have been top notch, it is the googlies that has fetched him more success, which is something he should consider using more often in the remainder of the series.
Rahmat Shah loves playing against the West Indies having scored four fifties from six innings against them. He was among runs even in the first game. He built an impressive third wicket stand with Ikram Alikhil, but once that was broken, Afghanistan collapsed and never recovered. The leading run-scorer for his country this year – 603 runs at 33.50 – is the glue that holds the innings together and will have to play a huge role if Afghanistan are to level the series. He has gotten off to starts in his previous five innings – 36, 24, 35, 62 and 61 – but will have to kick on if Afghanistan are to get a big total on the board.
Roston Chase had a dream match in the first ODI, where he finished with his best bowling figures (2 for 31) and highest score (94) in ODIs. Among all the spinners on display, Chase showed the best control with the ball and batted sensibly as West Indies registered a comfortable win, chasing just 195. The wear and tear of the pitch might assist the spinners a bit more and Chase will be looking forward to contributing with both bat and ball once again.
Suggested FanFight team
Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Najibullah Zadran, Kieron Pollard, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell