In the last league game played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur on Tuesday Apirl 1 2014, West Indies inflicted a humiliating 84-run defeat on Pakistan in a match, which had its twists and turns. When West Indies elected to bat after winning the toss, they must have envisioned a total which Pakistan could not challenge. But things soured for them as they lost both openers for 22 runs in 3.5 overs. In any case, both Gayle and Smith were struggling against the Pakistan bowlers as long as they occupied the crease. Before Simmons fell at 61, the third-wicket stand between him and Marlon Samuels had produced 39 runs but two partners could not lift the scoring rate beyond 6. Then West Indies lost two more wickets quickly and their score read 81/5 in the 14th over. With just 6 overs left, Dwyane Bravo and Darren Sammy had a huge task producing a challenging score. The Pakistanis had a spring in their feet as the bowlers and fielders had done a commendable job until then. But Bravo and Sammy had something up their sleeves. Without bothering about what the other batsmen had done, they went about mounting an assault. The two big hitters of the ball from the Caribbean used their willows like swords and jackhammers. No bowler was spared including the highly rated Saeed Ajmal as boundaries and sixes flew from their bats. Though Bravo was a victim of an unfortunate run out in the last over, he had helped his skipper in smashing the Pakistani bowlers for 82 off the remaining 30 deliveries. When West Indies finished their 20 overs, 166 runs had already been scored. It was not a great total but it was much better than the projected score when the total was 81/5 in 13.5 overs. Bravo blasted 4 sixes and 2 fours in his 26-ball 46, while Sammy’s 42 came off just 20 balls with 2 sixes and 5 fours.
When Pakistan came to bat, they were unlucky to lose their last match centurion Ahmed Shezad for a duck off the very first ball of their chase. It was a beautiful in-swinging Yorker from Santokie, which landed on Shehzad’s toe bang in line with the middle stump. The umpire’s finger went promptly up. It was a bad omen and the new Pakistan batsmen and skipper took his time and allowed the over to pass. A wide delivery from Santokie took the Pakistan score to 1/1. When Kamran Akmal faced the second over from Samuel Badree, he allowed two dot balls and scooped the third straight into the waiting hands of Dwyane Bravo. With 2 wickets gone for just 1 run, Pakistan began feeling more pressure. In Badree’s next over, Umar Akmal was foxed by a googly and stumped, yards out of the crease. With runs dried up, Badree struck once again in his third over, when he deceived Shoaib Malik with a superb delivery. Malik was way out of his crease and Ramdin made no mistake behind the stumps. With four wickets lost for 13 runs in the 6th over, Pakistan were in serious trouble. Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Tanvir chipped in with some contributions but they couldn’t recover from the early damage. That Pakistan could only manage 13 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in the 6-over powerplay, nearly sums up the dire straits in which they landed themselves in. Mohammad Hafeez’s 19 was the highest score and when he got out in the 11th over for 37, hardly any hope was left for Pakistan. Pakistan’s seventh wicket fell at 74, eighth at 75, ninth at 78 and the whole team got out at 82 with 13 balls still remaining.
The day had started well for Pakistan with their bowlers on target and fielders alert. Hafeez would have opted to send West Indies in first, if he had won the toss. Therefore the toss became inconsequential for them. When their bowlers sent back the dangerous Gayle back in the pavilion and disallowed the incoming batsmen to score freely, Pakistan would never have imagined that their plight would become so pitiful. Even 166 was no great challenge but they squandered away the hold on the match by some rank bad batting. It was like a cruel joke played on Pakistan on the All Fools’ Day.
Earlier in the day, Australia and hosts Bangladesh played the penultimate league game at the same venue. The match had only academic value for the tournament but for the teams playing it provided a chance to salvage some lost prestige. Australia had gone out of the reckoning and they wanted to go home with at least one victory and the hosts, Bangladesh, who had disappointed their fans with their tournament performance also needed at least one win. But despite scoring a fairly challenging 153/5 in 20 overs, the Bangladesh bowlers couldn’t scare Warner and Finch, who thrashed every Bangla bowler with disdain. The Australian supporters must have rued why the Aussies kept such performance reserved for the last game and why the famous Australians allowed India, Pakistan and the West Indies to get away unharmed. The match became a no contest once the australian openers put on 98 in the 12th over, when Warner got out. Finch was next to go but by that time Australia was only 19 runs away from victory with 5 overs left. Australia’s victory came with 15 balls and 7 wickets still left.
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