About the Match
Afghanistan and the West Indies are going to be playing a low-key T20 series during the Champions Trophy seeing as both teams did not qualify for the event. If it were not for the timing of this tour, there would surely have been more noise being made about it since it will be the first tour of the West Indies by Afghanistan, undoubtedly an important milestone in their cricketing history.
There will be many occasions to look back at the drastic drop in fortunes of the West Indies that they failed to qualify for a World ICC Event but that will not do any good. Whether they change anything on the ground in a bid to regain their place in World Cricket will be a far more interesting thing to see.
The Current T20 Champions of the World should go into this match as firm favorites, however, Afghanistan is not going to be a walk in the park. The one and only time these two teams met was during the World T20 in 2016 when the Afghans beat West Indies by 6 runs in a famous victory.
Since winning the WorldT20 title, the West Indies have won only 2 out of their last 8 T20 internationals. They also just lost 3-1 to Pakistan at home.
The team will be led by Carlos Braithwaite, who is going through a terrible run of form and sat out for most of the IPL as well. The return of players like Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels to the squad should provide some hope to the West Indies hopeful that they will be able to get past Afghanistan at least.
Jason Mohammad was one of the most impressive West Indies players in the recently completed series and will be once again looking to make his mark against Afghanistan as well, while the bowling will depend on the spinners coming good.
We have noted in recent past that West Indian players who do well in T20 leagues around the world do not seem to play with same passion for their countries. If that is the case this time as well then expect Afghanistan to challenge the West Indies and maybe even cause an upset.
There is something about Afghan cricket that makes the heart light up, much like the West Indies cricket used to in a time gone past. Their players are not the fittest on the field or even the most talented but they have unearthed some high-quality players around which their team revolves. The fact that they play with their hearts on their sleeves is also something that lifts their game beyond the individual sum of their players.
In Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, Afghanistan has two world class players that have gained immense experience playing their trade in T20 leagues around the world.
Shadab Khan, for Pakistan, did a lot of damage against the West Indies and Rashid Kahn will hoping to do the same for Afghanistan. Their batting though looks a little weak depending heavily on the likes of Asghar Stanikzai and Noor Ali Zadran.
One feels the game will be won or lost between the Afghan bowlers and the West Indian batsmen. Scores in excess of 145-155 will be hard to chase for this Afghanistan team.
The fielding is another area where the West Indies will absolutely crush Afghanistan and that could mean a difference between winning and losing at the end of the day.
Pitch and Conditions
The T20 matches will be played at Warner park in Basseterre where the pitch is expected to be low, slow and conducive to spin. This may be an advantage for Afghanistan as the gulf between their batting and that of the West Indies will reduce.
Rain is always a factor and can be expected to disrupt the matches at this time of the year.
West Indies To win.