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Dead rubber awaits clash between lowest ranked sides
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Dead rubber awaits clash between lowest ranked sides

A winless Afghanistan are desperate of breaking their World Cup duck as they now take on the West Indies in their final game of this year's edition in England and Wales.

A tournament campaign that began poorly for the rookie side, Afghanistan have gradually picked up pace in recent encounters getting into winning positions against both Pakistan and India before squandering their chances.

They will take a lot of heart from the rise in quality of the spin stocks which have continued to trouble all oppositions during the World Cup.

However, batting collapses have been a frequent occurrence for the Afghan line-up with batsmen switching gears between slogging and blocking without really focusing on running between the wickets to build an innings.

Their head-to-head record against the West Indies though reigns superior as Gulbadin Naib's men have emerged triumphant on three occasions and losing just once against the Caribbean side.

This will provide Afghanistan a lot of confidence heading into a match they would be looking to earn a consolatory win from and give coach Phil Simmons a perfect send-off.

The West Indies, on the other hand, have regularly relied on their quicks to dismantle opposing batting line-ups, though they have had mixed results.

After a fiery performance against Pakistan in their opening game, Jason Holder's men have faltered rather sharply in the rest of the games.

Although they have come close to pulling off upset victories over Australia and New Zealand, fortune has not favoured them and they always end up on the losing end.

Fresh from another close finish against Sri Lanka, the West Indies would be motivated to go the extra mile against bottom-ranked Afghanistan.

Gayle's farewell World Cup match in perspective

When the West Indies take the field in Headingley, self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle will bow out of World Cups.

An illustrious career that has seen him break many six-hitting records, Gayle has shown flashes of his brilliance during this tournament though not yet delivering a memorable performance.

He would be hoping to unleash his destructive abilities one last time in cricket's showpiece event and take on Afghanistan's spinners.

Scarcity of genuine pace hurts Afghanistan

Naib admitted on the eve of his side's final clash in the tournament that Afghanistan suffered from a dearth of express pace bowlers.

The Afghanistan skipper lamented the lack of prominent fast bowlers in the line-up which could add variety to the bowling attack.

"If you look over the last two or three years, we're just depending on spinners, especially when Mujeeb joined the team," Naib said.

"We have two spinners in Rashid and Mujeeb. So if you work on the fast bowlers in the last two or three years, maybe we have good pacers now in this tournament."

Squads

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil