Nagpur, March 26 (IANS) With the World Twenty20 semi-finals berth already secured, the West Indies will aim to maintain their winning momentum and enter the knockout stages unbeaten when they take on a spirited Afghanistan in their final Group 1 clash at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
The 2012 World T20 champions, after victories against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa in the group stages, look favourites to win against Afghanistan and finish top with eight points.
On the other hand, International Cricket Council (ICC) associate member Afghanistan have impressed one and all by making it to the main round of the tournament and later on troubling top teams like South Africa and England in the competition.
The West Indies will as always rely on swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle to fire for them at the top. But the hard-hitter failed to impress in the warm-up game against India, scoring just 18.
Besides Gayle, opener Johnson Charles, middle-order batsmen Andre Fletcher, Marlon Samuels followed by some world class all-rounders in Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell make them an explosive unit.
Experienced Jason Holder and Jerome Taylor make a good pace bowling pair besides spinners Samuel Badree and Sulieman Benn, who can be handy with their variations.
But all eyes will once again be on Afghan hard-hitting opener Mohammad Shahzad. The right-handed batsman is currently in second spot in the top run-scorer list with 198 from six games. His blistering 19-ball 44 against South Africa was a standout performance. Besides Shahzad, skipper Asghar Stanikzai will be the key man for Afghanistan when it comes to batting.
The bowling department will be led by pacers Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran. Seventeen-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan will be someone to watch out for after his good show in the tournament.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Samuel Badree.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Amir Hamza, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shapoor Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf.