After winning the first T20I on the back of an ODI series whitewash, no one expected the Afghans to take down West Indies the way they did on Saturday. What that did was turn a one-sided series into an enthralling series decider on an action-packed Sunday.
The West Indies have been struggling for form in this format before they rode down the subcontinent and won their first T20I of the calendar year a few days back. It didn’t take time for them to see that form is a temporary thing and to get that back would be some task. They definitely have the team strength to defy the unthinkable, but you never know when they will fall.
Afghanistan are a bit too reliant on their bowling resources to do the bulk of the job and the moment they fail, the result is pretty obvious. This will only change when their batting finds some trustable sources of runs, which will take time to build. For now, their resources are limited but the same cannot be said about their spirits, which are always a tad higher than their oppositions.
The pitch in Lucknow seems far too tired with the amount of cricket it has witnessed over it in the last couple of weeks. It will be a bit on the slower side and if there’s enough grip for the spinners, the host nation could be on top.
Hazratullah Zazai and Asghar Afghan will continue being the two most pivotal names in that batting order which hasn’t produced memorable performances since West Indies landed in Lucknow. They need more runs from Rahmatullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran to take a giant leap. Karim Janat will be hogging a lot of limelight in the bowling attack besides the spin duo of Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi.
Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmatullah Gurbaz (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan (C), Karim Janat, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Evin Lewis chipped in with an important contribution in the first game and something similar is expected from Shimron Hetmyer and Denesh Ramdin in the middle order. Kesrick Williams picked up three wickets and was outstanding in his spell. Jason Holder and Hayden Walsh will be the other bowling options besides the two front-line men in Sheldon Cottrell and Williams.
Probable XI: Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Denesh Ramdin, Kieron Pollard (C), Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Holder, Kesrick Williams, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh, Sheldon Cottrell
Probable Top Performers
Hazratullah Zazai – Afghanistan | Kieron Pollard – West Indies
TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Online – Hotstar
Match Timings – 19:00 local time, 13:30 GMT