Aug 01, 2021 Sports
By Sean Devers
On a day blessed with mostly glorious sunshine, Pakistan romped to a convincing seven-run victory yesterday at Providence as the visitors went one-up in the four-match series after the first in Barbados ended in a no-result.
A 67-run stand between the inform pair of skipper Babar Azam, who made 51 from 40 balls decorated with four fours and two sixes and the Mohammad Rizwan who was run out for 46 from 36 balls with four boundaries which included a couple of sixes set a solid foundation for a 190 total.
However, Jason Holder (4-26) and the experienced Dwayne Bravo (2-24) orchestrated a dramatic collapse as Pakistan lost 6 wickets for 23 runs to finish on 157-8 when their 20 overs expired.
Needing to score at just under 8 runs per over to take a 1-nil lead in the series which concludes on Tuesday, West Indies, despite a late flurry from 25-year-old Nicholas Pooran who hit an unbeaten 62 from 33 balls with four fours and six mighty sixes in his fourth T20I fifty, West indies laboured to score freely and were restricted to 150-4 off 20 overs as 47 dot balls did not help their cause on a slow track which helped the spinners.
The consistent Evin Lewis who scored 35 from 33 balls with two fours and two sixes was only other batsman to reach 20 but once he was forced to retire hurt, it was left on Pooran, who with 20 needed in the final over and Pollard going off the first ball for a painstaking 13, hit a four and a six off the last two balls.
But it was too little too late and the hosts who again failed to rotate the strike and pick up singles will have to regroup before tomorrow’s game with the ‘dot ball’ percentage being their main worry.
Man-of-the-Match Mohammad Hafeez produced a miserly four-over in which took 1-6. He was supported by a frugal spell from spinner Shadab Khan (0-22 from 4), while Pakistan’s leading pacer Hassan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and rookie Mohammad Wasim had one wicket each.Watched by a fair size crowd of fully vaccinated fans in humid conditions, West Indies asked Pakistan to bat in the first ever T20I between the two sides in Guyana.
Sharjeel Khan got going when he whipped Jason Holder behind square for four before ending the second over with boundary over mid-on.
Rizwan deposited left-arm spinner Akeil Hosien for the first six of the contest and followed it up with an effortless straight six next ball.
With pulsating music emanating from the sound system in the Mound, Khan was dropped by Skipper Pollard off Gayle, who operated inside the power-play.
Khan dumped Holder for his first six before being taken at mid-on, next ball at 46-1 in 4.5 overs. Khan’20 lasted 16 balls and included a couple of fours and a six as the power-play over produced 55-1.
Rizwan greeted Dwayne Bravo with an imperious boundary past point and the fans in the stands, many of whom were supporting the visitors, were in a joyous mood.
While just 40 percent of the venue’s capacity, this was the largest crowd of the home series involving South Africa, Australia and now Pakistan.
The 26-year-old Azam, arguable the best all-formats batsman globally, joined Rizwan and the pair who posted 150 stand against England in their last T20I series when Pakistan scored 232-6, again batted brilliantly.
Azam disdainfully pulled Hayden Walsh for six and at the halfway stage Pakistan were 85-1.
Rizwan stroked Walsh gloriously for four to post the 100 in the 13th over as the pair batted magnificently before Rizwan was dismissed by a brilliant direct hit from Lewis at 102-2.
The 26-year-old Azam lofted the expensive Romario Shepherd (0-38 from 3 overs) who replaced Andre Russell in the side, for six to post his 20th fifty from 38 balls with six boundaries which included two sixes.
Azam celebrated the landmark with another boundary off Shepherd, with a proper cricket shot before rain halted play with the score on 134-2 in 16 overs.
After a 17-minute delay play resumed, but once Azam nicked a catch to the Keeper off Holder at 134-3, his demise triggered a dramatic collapse as six wickets tumbled for 23 runs when at one stage it seemed as if Pakistan would get close to 190.
When West Indies began their reply, Andre Fletcher, who replaced the injured Lendl Simmons, was bowled by off-spinner Hafeez for a second ball duck before Lewis was joined by Gayle.
With sun back in all its glory, Lewis stroked Afridi majestically for a boundary while the 41-year-old Gayle smashed him for a humongous six. But when on 16 from 20 balls, his inconsistent run continued when his wicket was disturbed by Ali off the last ball of the power-play at 31-2.
Guyanese Shimron Hetymer joined Lewis, who, with a full swing of the bat, clobbered Usman Qadir, the son of Pakistan’s greatest leg-spinner Abdur Qadir, for six before stroking a slower ball from Wasim back over his head for six.
Hetymer, in front of his home crowd, got going with a flick to fine leg for four and after 10 overs the hosts were 59-2.
However, Hetymer, frustrated by not getting the ball away, missed a big swing across the line and was bowled by Wasim for 17 from 18 balls as West Indies slipped to 70-3 after to a promising 39-run stand.
Things got worse for the West Indies when Lewis, was forced to retire hurt to bring Pollard to the crease to join fellow Trinidadian Pooran.
With the required run-rate steadily increasing, Pooran hit Wasim for consecutive sixes before cutting him for four behind point and the raucous crowd of less than 6,000 sounded like the capacity of 15,000.
Pooran jumped on Ali like a cat upon a mouse and clobbered him for four and a fan in the stand was gleefully waving a T&T flag.
Pooran continued his boundary hitting with back-to-back fours off Afridi before consecutive sixes which brought up his fifty, the first six posting the fifty stand of which the usually big hitting Pollard only contributing 10.
Meanwhile, President Irfaan Ali yesterday took to the stands to watch part of the cricket match between West Indies and Pakistan. His Excellency was joined by Minister of Culture youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr, Director of Sport Steve Ninvalle and Chairman of the National Sports Commission Kashif Muhammad.
Scores: Pakistan 157 for 8 (Azam 51, Rizwan 46, Holder 4-26) beat West Indies 150 for 4 (Pooran 62*, Hafeez 1-6) by seven runs.
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