It may be a dead rubber but can Afghanistan get some World Cup points on the board by beating West Indies? James Buttler gives his betting verdict...
"There is simply no way Afghanistan should be priced as rank outsiders at [4.5] against a West Indies side that have only ever beaten them once in five attempts. They met twice in the qualification tournament for this World Cup where the Afghans won by three wickets and seven wickets... I can't find a single reason to suggest you back West Indies at a ridiculously short [1.2]. "
Afghanistan v West Indies
Thursday July 4, 10:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket and on Betfair Live Video
Afghanistan have got better, despite themselves
The Afghans changed their captain, have fallen out behind the scenes and yet have come so close to taking big scalps. It begs the question 'what could they have achieved amidst perfect unity?' They have suffered eight straight defeats yet there is something remarkable about this Afghan side. They were nowhere in world cricket a decade ago and have climbed the ranks to deservedly take their seat at the top table. By the next World Cup in India they will be far more of a force.
They almost took down India, were on the brink of victory against Pakistan in their last game and all of their nearlies came after being battered for 17 sixes by England captain Eoin Morgan. They have stuck to their task, appear to be learning lessons and will ultimnately be better for the experience. When in the heat of battle they have lost the one percenters, shown their inexperience and failed to get over the line. But they are getting closer.
Inexperienced skipper Gulbadin Naib has made a few poor decisions and yet they enter their final game desperate to take a victory home. Mohammad Nabi (9) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (7) have put the highly regarded Rashid Khan (5) in the shade and could play a big part at a Headingley that took spin last time out.
It could have been so much different for West Indies
West Indies have one win and a no result from their eight matches. That win came in their opening game against Pakistan and many people's (including mine) pre-tournament outside picks to reach the semi-finals have disappointed. If they had taken advantage of dominating the early stages against Australia, if Carlos Brathwaite's breathtaking century had not fallen inches short of beating New Zealand, if the rain hadn't intervened when they were on top against South Africa, if they'd batted slightly better against Sri Lanka - well you get the picture - it is so near and yet so far.
Sheldon Cottrell has been a star on and off the pitch with 12 wickets and as many salutes in eight games. Captain Jason Holder and young fast bowler Oshane Thomas have eight wickets apiece. They have however been a bit one-dimensional in the field.
No one would begrudge the Afghans their win
There is simply no way Afghanistan should be priced as rank outsiders at [4.5] against a West Indies side that have only ever beaten them once in five attempts. They met twice in the qualification tournament for this World Cup where the Afghans won by three wickets and seven wickets.
Add in that West Indies are barely interested in this match and Afghanistan are still desperate to record a World Cup win and I can't find a single reason to suggest you back West Indies at a ridiculously short [1.2].
Hashmatullah Shahidi (197) is 4/1, Najubullah Zadran (199) 11/1 and Rahmat Shah (192) 7/2 are Afghanistan's leading run-scorers in a market for Top Afghanistan Batsman that is incredibly open. Hazratullah Zazai has yet to come to the party and could be a play at 7/2. But the value us with Najubullah with a half-stakes nibble at 11/1.
Chris Gayle will play is last World Cup innings for West Indies at Headingley and if you like the fairytale ending story he is 13/5 to be his side's top scorer, but that wouldn't be my play.
Nicholas Pooran is a youngster who will be the bedrock of his country's batting for some time and his 118 from 103 balls against Sri Lanka showed why Yorkshire have signed him to play in this summer's T20 Blast. So he will walk out at his new county home ground intent on adding to his 309 World Cup runs. Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope all bring decent credentials but Pooran is the play at an astonishingly generous 6/1.
The Man of the Match markets have provided great value for a few entertaining nibbles through the tournament. Pick a few players with the capability of swinging the match and play half-stakes. My three for this one, avoiding the above picks in the top batting markets to cover more bases, are Chris Gayle 7/1, Shimron Hetmyer 12/1 and Rashid Khan 12/1.
James Buttler P/L CWC19
Units Staked 48.00
Units Returned 62.88
Profit/Loss: +14.88 units