T20I series preview: West Indies v Afghanistan
The West Indies host Afghanistan in a T20I series that will get underway at Warner Park in Basseterre on St Kitts on June 2 and will comprise three matches at the same venue.
The hosts have named a strong squad full of players who turned out in the IPL with Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons all turning out while Rovman Powell’s only contribution was as a substitute fielder.
Narine’s promotion to open the batting for the Kolkata Knight Riders reaped rewards and it will be interesting to see if the West Indies use him in that role.
Afghanistan have two players who also featured in the IPL in Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan with the latter impressing.
The visitors will be without big-hitting wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad who has been suspended following a positive drugs Test earlier this year.
Afghanistan have not lost a T20I this year although their wins have come against Oman, the UAE and Ireland.
The two teams have met just once with the West Indies beating Afghanistan at the World T20 in India in 2016 on their way to claiming the title.
The tourists will see this series as a chance to measure their progress against an established international power while for the West Indies nothing short of a whitewash will be accepted.
Windies coach Stuart Law has endured a tricky start to his tenure as coach and he will be eager to get the team winning again as soon as possible.
The hosts should prove too strong for Afghanistan but an upset is not something that we can rule out altogether.
Evin Lewis has shown himself to be a dangerous batsman in the game’s shortest format, scoring a thrilling century against India in Florida last year, the West Indies will want him to fire.
Narine may play a role with the bat but it is with the ball that he will be most needed by the West Indies who will look to him to strangle runs and pick up wickets.
With Shahzad absent there is increased responsibility on the shoulders of skipper Asghar Stanikzai as perhaps the team’s best batsman and the captain.
Rashid has shown himself to be world-class and will look to emulate Shadab Khan of Pakistan who greatly troubled the West Indies in their most recent T20I outings.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (Captain), Samuel Badree, Ronsford Beaton, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Noor Ali Zadran, Javid Ahmadi, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Esa Khel, Samiullah Shenwari, Najeeb Zadran, Gulbaddin Naib, Rashid Khan, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapoor Zadran, Amira Hamza Hotak, Farid Malik, Dawlat Zadran, Karim Janat
Fri Jun 2 1st T20I – West Indies v Afghanistan 19:30 local (23:30 GMT) Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts
Sat Jun 3 2nd T20I – West Indies v Afghanistan 19:30 local (23:30 GMT) Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts
Mon Jun 5 3rd T20I – West Indies v Afghanistan 19:30 local (23:30 GMT) Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts
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