Washout could hurt West Indies WC qualification

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The series between West Indies and Afghanistan ended in a 1-1 tie as the deciding match was washed out by rain, which had been heavy overnight and persistent through the day.

There was just enough time with clear skies for the two captains to come out for the toss – two hours after schedule – but as soon as Asghar Stanikzai found the favour of the coin, he lost those of the elements. A drizzle prompted the groundstaff to cover the square again and pushed the match into an interminable delay. For your information, Afghanistan opted to bat.

In other news, West Indies coach Stuart Law, during a pre-match interview with the host broadcaster, was very frank in his assessment of the team. He said his players were actually less experienced than the opposition’s – an Associate Member – in ODI cricket and also admitted that West Indies were in a great struggle to climb up the rankings and gain automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.

The top eight sides on September 30 will be locked in to play the showpiece event in England – and with Bangladesh making the semi-final of the Champions Trophy and Pakistan going one better to secure a spot in the final, they will likely widen the gap between themselves and the No. 9 ranked West Indies. The international teams that don’t make the cut must then participate in a gruelling qualifying tournament in April 2018, when 10 contenders, including the best of the Associate nations, fight for two spots.

“But we can’t be focussed on that,” Law said. “We have to be up for this contest, and then the next series against India. If we can win a couple of games, and then a couple against England, I’m sure we can climb the ladder. Whether or not we get direct entry into the World Cup, I’m not sure.”

West Indies had begun the series on 79 points. Even if they had won it today, they still would have lost a point. (ESPNCricinfo)

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