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West Indies brace for battle against conditions

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Agarkar: No doubting Rashid's quality (3:16)

Ajit Agarkar and Shaun Tait break down Rashid Khan's match-winning spell against West Indies which saw him snare 7 for 18 - the fourth-best haul in ODI cricket (3:16)

Match facts

June 11, 2017
Start time 1430 local (1830 GMT)

Big Picture

The shorter the duration of a game, the closer the difference between a higher and a lower-ranked team. The NBA playoffs series' are a race to four. Grand Slams in tennis are best of five sets. And Tests in cricket can last five days. The reason is that the better team is able to sustain itself over extended periods of pressure. Afghanistan's tour has already thrown up a paradoxical situation.

They may well have found some success in the T20s had they not looked like their first ride from the airport was to the ground. They were harried for pace while batting, and didn't have their own fast-bowling firepower. Although it wasn't entirely unsurprising that conditions were tough for batting in the first ODI - pitches in the West Indies have been primarily slow this decade - it played right into Afghanistan's hands. Rashid Khan, quickly rising in confidence and ability, spun his way past both edges to finish with the fourth-best bowling figures in ODIs. Afghanistan had found just the right pace.

West Indies, it seemed, had misread conditions in St Lucia. Playing four seamers in slow conditions disallowed them from gaining an advantage with spin. And when they batted, they found the difference. The absence of their best ODI batsmen showed as they continued to fail to pick Rashid.

Form guide

West Indies LLLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Afghanistan WWLLW

In the spotlight

West Indies' middle order - Shai Hope, Jason Mohammed, Roston Chase and Jonathan Carter - have played a combined 45 ODIs. In the series against Pakistan and in the first ODI against Afghanistan, their inexperience was evident from their inability to hit gaps. On a slow pitch, they'll need to find ways to push the score along without just boundaries.

Rashid Khan earned himself an IPL contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad by flummoxing Associate batsmen. Then he troubled the elite at the IPL. Subsequently, his confidence, a crucial factor in sport, supplemented his legspinning prowess. Now, he has taken a seven-for too. West Indies need to find a way to pick his variations or develop a method of playing him off the pitch.

Team news

Having named a 13-man squad for this series, West Indies don't have too many back-up options. With the second ODI at the same venue, West Indies may bring in legspinner Devendra Bishoo for Alzarri Joseph, who went for 52 in his 10 overs.

West Indies (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jonathan Carter, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Miguel Cummins, 10 Devendra Bishoo/Alzarri Joseph, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Afghanistan not only found the right combination for the conditions in the first game, but also achieved the right result. Hence, they're unlikely to change that winning combination.

Afghanistan (probable): 1 Noor Ali Zadran, 2 Javed Ahmadi, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Asghar Stanikzai (capt), 5 Samiullah Shenwari, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Afsar Zazai (wk), 8 Gulbadin Naib, 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Amir Hamza, 11 Dawlat Zadran

Pitch and conditons

The surface was the first ODI was symbolic of how pitches have turned in nature from pacy and bouncy to low and slow. Those characteristics are unlikely to change much, and if the second match is played on the same surface, don't expect high scores. There isn't a high chance of rain for Sunday.

Stats and trivia

  • Rashid Khan became the youngest bowler to take a seven-for in ODIs, beating Aaqib Javed's 7 for 37

  • This will be just the second ODI at this ground after it was renamed the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium