West Indies v Afghanistan, 3rd ODI, St Lucia June 13, 2017

Onus on WI batsmen with series on the line

46

Match facts

June 14, 2017
Start time 1430 local (1830 GMT)

Play 01:30
WI eye series win, form before India matches

Big Picture

If there ever was a time to rally round the West Indies, it is now. They are ranked No. 9 - one spot below the bar for direct entry into the 2019 World Cup - and even if they win this series against Afghanistan, they will finish with fewer points (78) than they had prior to its start (79).

West Indies have 11 more ODIs before the cut-off date of September 30, but 10 of them are against India and England - both front-runners to win the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy. Considering their inconsistency, it 's looking increasingly likely that West Indies, the former two-time world champions, might have to enter a qualification round to even have a chance at winning another title.

But before all that, they have to find a way past Afghanistan, or perhaps simply their legspinner Rashid Khan. In the first match, he took 7 for 18 to defend 212, followed by 3 for 26 in the second ODI to keep his side in the game for close to 40 overs, even though the target was only 136.

A battery of the hosts' easy-on-the-eye batsmen can do a lot better. After all, Evin Lewis cleaves the air itself when he cuts the ball, Roston Chase is so good he made Viv Richards chant his name and the first line on Jason Mohammed's resume is "I led West Indies' highest successful chase in ODIs".

The irony, though, is that every time the Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai steps up to speak, he says his bowling contingent can defend 200-odd. If West Indies had half of that belief in their strengths, they'd be alright.

Form guide

West Indies WLLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Afghanistan LWWLL

In the spotlight

A month ago, on a pitch with spiteful variations in bounce, Shai Hope had scored a match-winning, second-innings 90 for West Indies in Test cricket. Then, too, he had to deal with a legspinner, one whose variations are more threatening than his stock ball. But unlike Yasir Shah, Rashid bowls a lot faster and his action is different: somehow, even his legbreaks seem to come from the back of the hand. There's trouble coming. But West Indies have Hope.

Evin Lewis, at the top of the order, with his power-hitting ability, can break games open © WICB Media/Brooks LaTouche Photography Ltd

Afghanistan's plan, it seems, is to bat first, put up a par score, bowl nice and tight in the early part of the chase and then befuddle the opposition with spin once the run-rate soars high enough. For the tourists to apply that scoreboard pressure on West Indies, Mohammad Nabi will be a key figure in the middle order. An experienced batsman, capable of batting through an innings, he will want to show it takes more than banging the ball halfway into the pitch to rattle his team.

Team news

Having won the last match by taking the insurance of an extra batsman, West Indies would've liked to stick with the same XI, but Shannon Gabriel is out of the final ODI courtesy a side strain he suffered during the second ODI. Kesrick Williams has replaced him in the squad. Williams is yet to make his ODI debut.

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 Rovman Powell, 9 Ashley Nurse, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Kesrick Williams

Afghanistan bat till No. 9, but they'd want to front up better against the short ball, which claimed nearly all their wickets in their previous game.

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 conditions

This will be the third match of the series at the Darren Sammy stadium in less than a week so there is a likelihood that a used pitch might be furnished. Hitting through the line might, again, not be fun. Weather wise, there is a chance of rain but it shouldn't linger.

Stats and trivia

  • Rashid's performance in the series - 10 wickets at an average of 4.40, strike-rate of 11.2 and economy rate of 2.35 - has vaulted him 18 places to No. 7 on the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers

  • West Indies' opening partnership has been awful since the 2015 World Cup. They have used six players to average 24.24 - the worst out of 16 teams

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on June 14, 2017, 21:14 GMT

    you can never replace Hamid Hassan I have not seen a fast baller like him in any Afghan domestic teams so why is he not coming back is not due to his knee look at Mustafiz from Bangladesh he has many operations on his knee and leg but he is playing he might limp at times but he is playing really well.

  • Johnny865 on June 14, 2017, 19:48 GMT

    @johnycrg... you must really be reading something else cuz with the exception of pollard bravo Snr and Russell, the rest of the Snr guys all average in their thirties and I left out hope and mohammed stats out simply because the team I would select would include those players, I have no problem with them. but the rest are simply not good enough. and u wanna give each of those guys a hundred games knowing that they are not going to improve? plzzz look at mohammed and hope you know that the talent is there hence they both having higher averages than the rest. and you know what it didn't take them 100 games to achieve this. also take a look at travis head from Australia and babar azam from Pakistan, both are averaging over 40 and 50 respectively and u know what it didn't take them 100 games to achieve it. one could see the talent when they play. and for the wi 3/4 of the new batsmen just doesn't have it. holder has played 57 odi and is averaging 22, so u are telling me if he is given 43 more games then he would be averaging around 40?? how laughable...

  • WardakAfg. on June 14, 2017, 19:23 GMT

    Afg. cricket team have fallen a part recently. Look at Hamid, Mirwais, Shazad, Najib Tarakai. All these good players are out of the squad for different reasons....How can you win matches when your experienced and talented players are not part of the squad. Hard to understand ACB.... very pathetic.

  • doosra-sheru on June 14, 2017, 19:15 GMT

    WHOA......................The weather might have the final say. West Indies team will be delighted if the rain continues and or the field is overun with water.There are no machinery like water soppers there in that part of the world and rags, brooms, mops , garden blow driers for dry leaves may not be enough. The groundsmen are also a factor as they will be reluctant to do any "mopping up". Remember last time with India? A draw/washout is like a win for WI these days.

  • cricfan0366091090 on June 14, 2017, 19:11 GMT

    Badree is a out because nurse is in his place because of his ipl contract. Once you playing in the ipl you can't and won't make this West Indies team . Ask wicb

  • doosra-sheru on June 14, 2017, 19:05 GMT

    @Vivek Anand WHOA................ I think the reason that bowler is not chosen is that he is only good for 3 overs. sometimes ........maybe 4....after that he donates runs rapidly to the other side and also he has aged to the extent that he is a liability in the field so there is no where to hide him.. There may be additional reasons ....I don't know

  • ziaurahman on June 14, 2017, 18:18 GMT

    Mirwais ashraf is fit now but Hamid hassan has knee injury and after this series ICC will announce there decission about afg test state and also anounce there decision about m.shehzad that will they free him from banned or ?

  • Marabellaboy on June 14, 2017, 18:02 GMT

    At the moment, the only thing that West Indies can win is "The TOSS". Pretty soon Windies will "follow-on" in an ODI.

  • Cricinfouser on June 14, 2017, 17:57 GMT

    wardakafg brother hamid hassan seems to be playing shpageeza but why he is not playing international I wish I knew. if Afghan batsmen play sensible and not throw away their wickets then they can put up a good total to win this inshallah. wardakafg you can replace Asghar coz he is the captain unless he steps down which he should rightfully. shabbir noori is not in the squad he is not a good performer anyway. Najib tarakai is not in the squad either. my best replacement Usman Ghani for Noor Ali Shafiqullah for Afsar Zazai and Najibullah Zadran should be included too.

  • johnycrg on June 14, 2017, 17:33 GMT

    @JOHNNY865 the older players got to play 100+ matches to achieve their average in the 20s to low 30s yet you want to compare them to players who have played less than 20% of their matches and some even less than 10 matches. If you believe that after 100+ games an average in the mid 20s is good enough for 'world beaters' then we are doomed. and why did you conveniently leave out mohammed and hope average but chose to include gayle and Samuels own? If you leaving out the top 2 of the young squad apply the same rubric to the older players. also why didn't you highlight the fact that just last month the majority of the young squad average was in the mid 30s?Try your numbers play with someone else. mid 20s average after 100+ games is unforgivable.better skilled or not their stats are ridiculous. and apparently you must have forgotten that with them we were still ranked 8th and still losing series after series.If you gave them 100+ games for that the young guys deserve it too

  • No featured comments at the moment.