by Atif Amin Sports Reporter TN Media News.
The three-match ODI series between Pakistan and West Indies got underway in Multan on Wednesday. Pakistan on the back of a century from captain Babar Azam and a cameo at the end from Khushdil Shah managed to win a thriller by five wickets with four balls remaining. Pakistan has relocated their home series against West Indies from Rawalpindi to Multan.
The newly appointed West Indies white-ball captain Nicolas Pooran won the toss and decided to bat first and his batsmen justified his decision by posting a formidable 305/8 in their innings. The backbone of the innings was Shai Hope who score a classy 127 of 134 balls. Opening the innings Hope batted until the 44th over the innings.
He shared 154 runs partnership for the 2nd wicket with Shamarah Brooks who scored 70. Brooks fell for 70 in the 31st over thanks to a superb diving catch from Shadab Khan. Pakistan took regular wickets from thereon and also kept the run rate in check, however strong finish from Rovman Powell and Shepherd took West Indies past 300 both batsmen scoring at a strike rate of 139.
For Pakistan Shaheen, Shah Afridi was the pick of the bowlers as once again he struck early to remove opener Kyle Mayers and later removed dangerous Rovman Powell when he had started to up the ante. Shaheen finished his quota of 10 overs with 2/55 which included a maiden. Haris Rauf took 4 wickets but was expensive as his 10 overs went for 78. Spinners Nawaz and Shadab took 1 wicket apiece while Hassan Ali went wicketless.
Chasing 306 was not as daunting as Pakistan had recently chased 348 against a strong Australian bowling lineup. However, a strong foundation was required to achieve this target. After Fakhar Zaman was dismissed by Jaden Seales, Imam and Babar combined for a century stand and took the score to 129, when Imam was dismissed trying to reverse sweep Akel Hosein after scoring 65. This brought Mohammad Rizwan to the wicket who again shared a century stand with captain Babar Azam.
Babar completed his ton during this partnership and became the first batsman in ODI history to score 3 hundred in 3 consecutive matches on 2 occasions. Babar eventually got out on 103 trying to hoick Alzari Joseph over mid-wicket but only succeeding in top-edging to mid-wicket where Mayers took the catch. Rizwan departed soon after scoring 59. In the end, it was left to a gem of a cameo from Khushdil Shah. Needing 44 in the last 4 overs Khushdil smashed four sixes en route to an unbeaten 23-ball 41, to see Pakistan home by five wickets and four balls to spare.
It meant Shai Hope, whose 12th ODI hundred was classy enough to merit winning the game in its own right, ended up in vain, as the visitors fell just short in an attritional ODI. For West Indies Alzari Joseph was the pick of the bowlers with 2 scalps while Jayden Seales, Romario Shephard and Akeal Hosein picked up 1 wicket apiece.
This encounter was the first international at Multan after many years and fans turned out in a large number and witnessed the match which proved to be a humdinger. The 2nd match of the series is scheduled on Friday 10th of June 2022. Pakistan started this series at no. 10 in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League and with this win, Pakistan has moved to 7th position.
For the latest ranking: https://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup-super-league/standings
Brief Match Score:
West Indies 305/8 ( Shai Hope 127, Shamarah Brooks 70, Haris Rauf 4/78, Shaheen Afridi 2/55))
Pakistan 306/5 ( Babar Azam 103, Imam 65, Rizwan 59, Alzari Joseph 2/55)
Match Result: Pakistan won by 5 wickets