With both the West Indies and Afghanistan performing well below expectations, 22 players will be keen to leave some impressive performances in the minds of team management as they are herded towards some ugly post-mortems.
Afghanistan have one last opportunity for redemption and for a maiden World Cup victory against a Test nation, having dropped winning opportunities against both India and Pakistan during the tournament. Their eight-game winning streak leading into this is the worst in their history, while they have also failed to win any of their last 11 completed ODIs against other CWC nations (T1, L10).
The heartbreaking loss to Pakistan epitomised everything that has gone wrong with Afghanistan as maladministration cost them dearly: Gulbadin Naib has been clearly out of his depth as captain, trying to be the hero with both bat and ball and handing victory to Pakistan with some baffling tactics and poor execution with the ball at the death.
For the Windies, this was meant to be an easy victory on the way to a shock semi-finals spot, but they continue to throw away winnable matches at key moments, particularly in the chases against New Zealand and Sri Lanka after working so hard through the middle stages. In addition to two farcical run-outs to break up effective partnerships, Jason Holder estimated that sloppy fielding gifted 30-40 runs to Sri Lanka on Monday.
It all adds up to a lamentable recent record in ICC tournaments in England which has seen them win just two CWC/Champions Trophy matches in the UK (T1, NR1, L7) since their unforgettable 2004 Champions Trophy triumph. With fellow CWC qualifiers Afghanistan winning both H2H meetings at the 2018 event in Harare, the “Men in Maroon” will need to fight hard to go home with a winning smile.
AFG vs WI – Players to watch out for
Hashmatullah Shahidi (AFG) is the only batsman in the side with two half-centuries, but his CWC19 runs have come at a dreadful strike rate of just 56.44.
Chris Gayle (WIN) averages a staggering 62.60 (18 inns, 939 runs, SR 91.52) against ODI oppositions outside of the original Ten test nations, so he is primed to go out big.
Just seven of the last 19 completed ODIs at Leeds have been won by the team batting first.
The average first innings score at Headingley this century is 268. The seven teams to have won first when batting first at Headingley this century have posted an average total of 303.
Afghanistan are averaging just 45 runs in the first powerplay (overs 1-10). Chris Gayle and Shai Hope have been dismissed by pace bowlers on every occasion at this World Cup.