Afghanistan have got better, despite themselves
The Afghans changed their captain, have fallen out behind the scenes and have come so close to taking big scalps. It begs the question’what could they have achieved amidst perfect unity?‘ They’ve suffered eight straight defeats nevertheless there’s something noteworthy about this Afghan side. They were nowhere in world cricket a long time ago and have increased the rankings to take their chair at the top table. By the next World Cup in India they will probably be much more of a force.
They almost took down India, were on the brink of success against Pakistan in their final game and all their nearlies came later being battered for 17 sixes by England captain Eoin Morgan. They’ve stuck to their task, seem to be learning lessons and will ultimnately be better for the experience. When in the heat of conflict they’ve lost the one percenters, revealed their inexperience and failed to get online. However they are becoming nearer.
Inexperienced skipper Gulbadin Naib has made a few poor decisions and they enter their final game distressed to take a victory home. Mohammad Nabi (9) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (7) have set the highly regarded Rashid Khan (5) from the shade and could play a big role in a Headingley that took spin last time out.
It could have been much different for West Indies
West Indies have one win and a no response in their eight games. That win came into their opening game against Pakistan and lots of people’s (like mine) pre-tournament outside choices to achieve exactly the semi-finals have disappointed. When they’d taken advantage of dominating the early phases against Australia, if Carlos Brathwaite’s breathtaking century hadn’t fallen inches short of beating New Zealand, if the rain hadn’t intervened when they were on top against South Africa, if they had batted slightly better against Sri Lanka – well you get the picture – it’s so close and yet so far.
Sheldon Cottrell has been a star on and off the pitch with 12 wickets as well as many salutes in eight games. Captain Jason Holder and young fast bowler Oshane Thomas possess eight wickets apiece. They have been a bit one-dimensional within the specialty.
Nobody would begrudge the Afghans their triumph
There’s just no way Afghanistan ought to be costly as rank outsiders in 4.50 against a West Indies side which have beaten them in five efforts. They met twice in the qualification tournament for this World Cup where the Afghans won by three wickets and seven wickets.Hashmatullah Shahidi (197) is 4/1, Najubullah Zadran (199) 11/1 and Rahmat Shah (192) 7/2 are Afghanistan’s top run-scorers in a marketplace for Best Afghanistan Batsman which is remarkably open. Hazratullah Zazai has to come to the party and may be a drama at 7/2. However, the value people with Najubullah with a half-stakes nibble at 11/1.
Goodbye Universe Boss
Chris Gayle will play is last World Cup innings for West Indies at Headingley and should you prefer the fairytale ending story he is 13/5 to be his side’s top scorer, but wouldn’t be my play.
Nicholas Pooran is a youngster who will be the bedrock of the nation’s batting for some time and also his 118 from 103 balls against Sri Lanka revealed why Yorkshire have signed him to play in this summertime T20 Blast. So he will walk out at his new county house ground intent on adding to his own 309 World Cup runs. Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope all deliver decent credentials but Pooran is your drama in an incredibly generous 6/1.
Man of the Match markets intriguing
The Man of the Match markets have provided excellent value for a few entertaining nibbles through the tournament. Pick a couple players with the capacity of swinging the match and play half-stakes. My three to get this one, averting the above mentioned selections in the top batting order markets to cover more bases, are Chris Gayle 7/1, Shimron Hetmyer 12/1 and Rashid Khan 12/1.
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