Dubai: It’s sad to see Afghanistan — probably the most-improved team in the World Cup — and West Indies, the most-talented side that is filled with specialists of shorter formats, end their campaign in such fashion, filling the last two spots.
Today in the Turning Point I will discuss their whole campaign, rather than the inconsequential last group game.
The points tally does not really reflect the true picture, the manner in which both teams have taken their campaign and the number of close games they have lost.
Afghanistan lost to India and Pakistan in the last over and ran Bangladesh close, which speaks volumes of the progress they have made in the last four years.
Even before taking a bow in their final group clash, Afghanistan gave West Indies a scare, but not before posting their highest World Cup score.
Again they were unlucky to find one of the tallest cricketers in the world to pluck certain sixes from the air to effect two dismissals.
Afghanistan showed plenty of depth in their batting and one after the other came in to maintain the momentum to battle for an elusive win, but failed narrowly again.
Another key reason for their failure is their trump card Rashid Khan was not as effective as they would have expected him to be in England.
Why is that so? Over exposure.
Many of the players have played him regularly in franchise leagues, so they know how to handle him. Secondly, the leg-spinner’s potency grows manyfold if the batsmen go after him.
Unlike Twenty20 games, in a 50-over contest they play a waiting game, so Rashid Khan is forced to try something new and play into their hands.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan have done themselves proud and walk away with their heads held high.
West Indies, on the other hand, flattered to deceive, even though they were extremely competitive in the early part of the showpiece.
Like Afghanistan, they too took a false step at crucial junctures.
However, there were plenty of positives during the campaign and their future holds very prospective to reclaim their past glory.
The upcoming India series should serve to test their mettle.
On another sad note it’s time to say good bye to the Universe Boss — who has terrorised bowlers across the world and kept the fans tantalisingly on their feet — as he bids adieu to the World Cup.
The fighter that he is, Chris Gayle ensured that West Indies won the contest with his bowling and fielding.
It’s time to say thanks to the Afghanistan and West Indies players for providing such wonderful entertainment.