The West Indies and Afghanistan meet in the third and deciding match of their ODI series at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St.Lucia on Wednesday.
For the West Indies victory is vital as they seek to drag themselves into the top eight ranked sides by the cut off date of September 30th, in order to secure automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England.
Currently ranked ninth by the ICC, the West Indies started the series with 79 ranking points, and even a victory on Wednesday will see them finish the series with fewer points than they started it. At best they will have 78 points to carry forward.
Including the Afghanistan fixture, the men from the Caribbean have just 11 ODIs left to play before the end of September, with 10 of those games being against England and India, who are probably the two most powerful ODI sides at present, although South Africa remain the No.1 ranked team.
If the West Indies are going to secure a series clinching victory on Wednesday, they will need to get to grips with their visitors leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who has bewildered the home side’s batsmen in the first two games.
Rashid claimed 7-18 in the first ODI, helping his country to an historic 63-run victory. He followed up with 3-26 in the second clash, as the tourists just failed to successfully defend a meagre 135.
Rashid’s 10 wickets have cost just 4.4 each, and he has dismissed a batsman every 11.2 balls, and as a result he has jumped in the ICC bowlers rankings from 25th to 7th.
No doubt the visitors will look to the same game plan as they have adopted in the first two fixtures. Bat first and set a reasonable total, and keep things tight at the start of their opponents run chase, before introducing the beguiling spin of Rashid.