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Its been more than a year since Afghanistan made their first appearance in test cricket and they have grown leaps and bounds ever since. They are coming off a recent win over Bangladesh, one of the established test nations, and would be as confident as anyone. After a mixed limited overs campaign, the Afghans are gearing up for their lone Test against the West Indies and the match is set to begin on 27th November at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow.
West Indies haven't played Test Cricket for a while now and will be itching to prove their prowess in the longest format of the game. While they are no longer the kind of force they used to be in test cricket, they could turn out to be more than a handful against this little experienced Afghan side. Going by only practice match, this upcoming match is more of a battle of the equals and we expect a cracker of a contest between the two sides.
Just when the Afghans were looking down and out in the limited overs format, they picked up two important wins in the shortest format of the game and those two wins should have boosted their confidence by a huge magnitude.
Although we do not expect Afghanistan to make many changes to the eleven that played against Bangladesh, there is going to be a forced change - a massive one. Mohammad Nabi, who announced his retirement from the longest version of the game after their win over Bangladesh, will not be available and filling his spot would be challenging for the hosts.
Afghanistan have grown exponentially in international cricket and it reflected in their win over Bangladesh. Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan form the core of their batting and they both did exceedingly well against the Tigers. Shah scored a well-compiled century and Asghar Afghan contributed with a 92-run knock and both innings together laid the foundation for Afghanistan's historic 223-run win over Bangladesh.
While it was their batting that won them the lone Test against Bangladesh, Afghanistan are more known for their versatile bowling attack. Despite the absence of Mohammad Nabi, they have pretty good bowling attack, which could be pretty difficult to handle at the dry and dusty surface of Lucknow.
Ibrahim Zadran, MJ Ahmadi, R Shah, Ihsanullah, Asghar Afghan, Amir Hamza, Afsar Zazai, Rashid Khan, Nasir Jamal, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Khan.
West Indies have had a pretty successful tour so far and would like to extend it with a win in the upcoming match as well. They started off with remarkable wins in the One Day Internationals, but couldn't continue their brilliant performances in the T20Is, which ironically happens to be the format they love the most.
Bowling-wise, Windies did pretty well in the recently completed tour match. Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican picked up nine wickets between them and their performance would be key in the fist match as well, especially in the second innings. However, with Roston Chase likely to be the first choice spinner, we might not see both of them getting picked in the first eleven.
Just like the case is with Afghanistan, batting isn't a stronger suite for West Indies either. Their dependence over Shai Hope was pretty apparent in the ODIs as well and other batsmen would have to chip in for West Indies to leave an impact. Fortunately for them, they bat deep with Jason Holder coming in late in the batting order. All in all, West Indies are a little over-reliant on a couple of batsmen and if the likes of Shai Hope, Roston Chase, and Jason Holder are able to get support from their other batsmen, West Indies are certainly going to make it hard for Afghanistan.
Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, JA warrican.
Not many matches have been on the venue before and both the sides will have their reservations regarding how the wicket is going to play. Considering that it's a red-soil surface, one thing is certain that there will be plenty of turn on offer even on the first day. Going by what has happened in the recent first-class games here, the batsmen are going to enjoy batting here, at least on the first couple of days. With spinners likely to have impact on the result of the game, both teams are expected to boost their spin departments going into the match. The team batting first should be pretty happy to get a total of 350.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy prediction for the only test between Afghanistan and West Indies. Don't forget to check the updated team right after the toss.
It was surprising to see West Indies go down in the T20I series the way they did. They looked invincible in the One Day Internationals, but failed to weave any magic whatsoever in the T20Is. Both the sides are pretty rich in spin bowling resources and that could be vital on a wearing surface at Lucknow. Having said that, it is the batting that is likely to govern the fate of the upcoming match. Both the teams are pretty equal both on-paper and based on the performance in the tour match. Afghanistan have a lot of experience of playing at this venue and that could come in handy in the upcoming match. With the odds of 2.5, betting on an Afghanistan is a mouth-watering proposition and are therefore our pick to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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