Afghanistan take on West Indies at Headingley in their final game of the ICC World Cup on Thursday.
IMAGE: Afghanistan lost in the final over against Pakistan, and by just 11 runs to India. They also pushed Bangladesh hard before collapsing to a 62-run loss. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Afghanistan have come very close to a maiden win at this World Cup but skipper Gulbadin Naib has told the batsmen it is their responsibility if the team is to break that duck.
The Afghans take on the West Indies at Headingley in their final match of the ICC World Cup, having lost in the final over against Pakistan, and by just 11 runs to India.
They also pushed Bangladesh hard before collapsing to a 62-run loss and Gulbadin has urged the team to produce a complete performance against the West Indies to get over the line.
He said: “We played the last four or five games quite well. I’m happy with the performance of the team.
“But we lacked something late on, for the last game we played against Pakistan and especially against Bangladesh because we played really well.
“As I say each time, we have to play 50 overs, especially in the batting. It all depends on our batting strength. If we don’t bat well, it’s difficult for our bowlers to defend a small total.
“So if you put a good total on the board, it’s difficult for the other team. Hopefully our batsmen will do that, so maybe it’s easy for us to win the game.”
Gulbadin readily admits that his team are paying for their lack of fast bowlers, particularly with Hamid Hassan ruled out of the final match through injury.
But as the tournament has gone on, their spinners have come into their own, particularly Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who took 2/34 against Pakistan from ten overs.
And Gulbadin believes the slow, dry tracks that have been on show in the latter stages of the tournament can help his team against an aggressive Windies batting line-up.
He added: “The spinners bowled really well in the last game, and the wicket is suitable for our spinners. If the wicket is the same as the last one, maybe it will be very difficult for them.
“We have to bowl in the right areas, that is the key point, and hopefully it will be a similar wicket to the last one we played against Pakistan.
“At the start of the tournament the wickets were very difficult. The wickets we played in the first three games were just totally different.
“I think it’s because of weather. It is very sunny now. It’s a very good wicket for this game, especially for us and the strength of Afghanistan’s spinners.”
(International Cricket Council)