PAKISTAN IN WEST INDIES, 2017
Shehzad, Hasan Ali shine in Pakistan’s series-winning performance
Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Mon, 03 Apr, 2017, 06:14 AM
Disciplined bowling followed by Shehzad-Azam’s 70-run second-wicket stand sealed the fourth T20I in Pakistan’s favour. © AFP
The fourth Twenty20 International (T20I) between Pakistan and West Indies ended up being a no-contest as the touring side outclassed the hosts in all departments to take the series 3-1 on Sunday (April 2) at the Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad. Unlike the popular case is in most T20Is where the bat dominates the ball, this contest was marked by a slightly unheard or unused word in the format – middle overs. After choking the hosts to a mediocre 124 and setting out to chase it down, the tourists romped home in a canter, winning the game by seven wickets with an over to spare.
All eyes were on Evin Lewis after Pakistan invited the hosts to bat first, but the danger was doused off as early as the third over when Imad Wasim drew first blood. Chadwick Walton went after the bowling, hitting as many as four sixes to hold the West Indies in good stead. But once Shadab Khan removed the wicketkeeper-batsman for his 31-ball 40, West Indies’ innings reared off into the dark.
Hasan Ali, who was bowling his second over, troubled Jason Mohammed throughout the over before sending him back on the final delivery with a sharp inswinging ball. When he came back to bowl his next over, Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels departed off back to back balls, leaving no scope for the hosts to recover from there. By the end of that over, Hasan Ali had bowled back to back maiden overs.
A flurry of dot balls in the middle overs, if they ever existed in this format, choked the West Indies and by the time, their skipper Carlos Brathwaite struck two sixes and two fours during his 24-ball 37, the West Indies had already done much damage to themselves to only end up with 124 for 8 in 20 overs. Having played out 66 dot balls in the innings, the hosts had pushed themselves against the wall and it would have needed an outstanding bowling effort to deny Pakistan the edge in reply.
On a wicket that was being used for the second time in as many days, Pakistan openers put together 40 runs, dismissing any debate about the slowness of the wicket, if at all. Once Kamran Akmal was dismissed after playing a smart hand of 20 runs, Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam got together for the best partnership of the match, stringing together 70 runs. The duo ran 30 of those runs, while finding the fence quite regularly.
Shehzad raised his 6th T20I fifty in the 16th over and with only 15 more needed to win, he shuffled across too much to be bowled around his legs. The other set batsman in Babar Azam followed his partner back into the hut, having added valuable 38 runs.
Shoaib Malik was joined in by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and they completed the formalities without much hassles. Malik was dropped on 2 but he quickly redeemed himself to hit a four and take the visitors over the line. In the process, the former skipper also became the second-highest run-getter for Pakistan in the shortest format of the game.
Brief Scores: West Indies 124/8 in 20 overs (Chadwick Walton 40, Carlos Brathwaite 37*; Hasan Ali 2-12, Shadab Khan 2-16) lost to Pakistan 127/3 in 19 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 53, Babar Azam 38; Kesrick Williams 2-16) by seven wickets.