After winning the toss, Misbah-Ul-Haq asked West Indies to bat first. The decision looked sound, when both openers were back in pavilion by the 8th over, including the dangerous Chris Gayle. 28/2 at that stage seemed to justify Pakistan captain’s decision. Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels went into the act of resurrection and added 75 for the third wicket, before Samuels and Bravo disappeared. Samuels fell as the third wicket and Bravo suffered a freak injury that could sound a death knell for his further appearance this World Cup. Though 167/3 may look better than 28/2, West Indies had already consumed 36 overs by then. At less than 5 runs per over at that stage, not a great score looked possible. However, later order West Indian batsmen showed remarkable sense of urgency and compiled 143 in the last 14 overs. At the end of the innings, 310/6 looked very majestic. Fall of 4 Pakistani wickets, with just one run on the scoreboard, made the chase nearly impossible for Pakistan. They couldn’t recover from the shock despite Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akal getting among the runs. All they could do was to delay the end, which finally came after 39 overs at 160 all out. It was the second successive loss for Pakistan after India outplayed them last Sunday. For West Indies, it was a turnaround after Ireland had beaten them comprehensively in their earlier match.
Something is amiss about the current West Indies side. They had the problems during their tour to South Africa before the World Cup. Their excessive reliance on Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels has been putting too much pressure on these batsmen. The bowlers lack the edge and fielding leaves a lot to be desired. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t hesitate in asking West Indies to bat first because at least Pakistan bowlers are better equipped than their West Indians counterparts. Misbah reaped an instant reward as the impatient Gayle went to pull a speeding delivery from Mohammad Irfan. The big man had been kept quiet for 14 balls for his 4 runs but when swung his bat, all he managed was a top edge flying high over long leg, where Wahab Riaz held a well-judged catch. Dwayne Smith also got out in the 8th over for 23 and West Indies were reduced to 28/2. After that, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels batted steadily to add 75 before Samuels stepped out to clear the ropes. He didn’t succeed as the ball could reach only as far as the long-off boundary, where a substitute fielder held the skier. Later order batsmen preserved the wicket but couldn’t improve the scoring rate. Then Bravo pulled his calf muscle and couldn’t walk. He had to retire hurt. They had the wickets but that didn’t work for them as they could only reach 167/3 after 36 overs. Captain Ramdin had a little chat with Lendl Simmons and they took 10 in the 37th. Though Ramdin lost his wicket in the 40th over, the batsmen kept scoring briskly. Though 42nd over went for 15 runs, West Indies could only reach 231/4 after 45. Then 14 came of the 46th and 47th produced 13. Now three overs remained and though Sammy got out, the rate of scoring kept rising. For the last three overs, West Indies had Andre Russel, who came with an attacking frame of mind. He changed the score substantially at death by blasting 42 off 13 balls and West Indies ended their innings at a very creditable 310/6
311 runs as a target was stiff but not impossible for Pakistan. They have some very attacking batsmen at the top. But for this match, the batsmen began to struggle straightaway. Nashir Jamshed attempted a pull and lobbed the ball high for an easy catch. It was the first over from Jerome Taylor, who picked another wicket off his last ball, when Younis Khan edged to the keeper. Next to go was Sohail Khan in the third over, when he scooped a dolly to another substitute fielder. It was the third duck of the three-over old Pakistani innings. Ahmed Shehzad fell to make it 1/4 with that single being his and his team’s only score in the innings. This was the worst Pakistan opening in an ODI game in recent memory. At the score of 25, skipper Misbah slashed hard at an away going ball and Gayle took an easy catch off the edge. The remaining Pakistan batsmen had the holy job of making the impending defeat respectable. But Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi scored some runs to lend some credibility to the Pakistan innings. Maqsood made 50 off 66, Akmal 59 off 71 and Afridi scored 28 off 26. Pakistan were finally bowled out after 39 overs for 160 and lost the match by a whopping 150-run margin.
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