World Cup 2019, Match 42: Afghanistan vs West Indies - Why Afghanistan will win the match
The Blue Tigers, Afghanistan, have disappointed their fans with their dismal performances in the 2019 World Cup. They entered this tournament on the back of a dominant display in the Asia Cup as well as the World Cup Qualifiers. However, Gulbadin Naib's men have crumbled under the pressure of big matches which has forced them to occupy the bottom position of the points table.
Afghanistan will battle West Indies in their final group stage match before leaving the United Kingdom. Though West Indies are the favorites to win today, here's why Afghanistan can spring a surprise.
The Asian nation has troubled India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in this tournament. Spin bowlers have been the strength of Afghanistan whereas the same is the weakness of the West Indies. Even clean hitters like Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, and Carlos Brathwaite have struggled against spin.
So, if Afghanistan opt to bat first and put 250-260 on the board, they can rely on their spinners to defend the total. The trio of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Mohammad Nabi has the potential to win the game for their country.
In case the West Indies get a chance to bat first, the chances of Afghanistan winning the game does reduce because the Men in Maroon won't play under the pressure of the required run rate hence, even a 350+ score would be possible then. Having said that, one can easily look at Afghanistan's performance against India and how they restricted Virat Kohli and Co. who had gotten off to a respectable start. So there's no ruling out the fact that Afghanistan wouldn't be able to restrict the West Indians to a chaseable total in case the latter bats first.
Gulbadin Naib needs to think smartly today and opt to bat first at Headingley if he wins the toss. If the Blue Tigers win today, this will not only be their first ever win of the 2019 World Cup but they will also register their first ever World Cup win against a Test playing nation. They were the only team to beat the West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup and nobody can stop them from winning today if they put runs on the board.