‘I know my game a little better now’ – Mohammed

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A better understanding of his own game and knowledge of coping with specific match situations has helped Jason Mohammed transform his game over the last year, leading to a knock like the unbeaten 91 off 58 balls in the first ODI against Pakistan on Friday. Mohammed’s half-century, his third of the year, was the bedrock of West Indies’ record chase of 309, as they rallied from 158 for 4 in the 34th over to complete a four-wicket win with an over to spare.

Starting from CPL [2016] with Guyana Amazon Warriors, my whole game has changed a lot,” Mohammed said after the match. “I have really gained a lot of confidence and momentum and I did well with the A team as well. I think I just know my game a little better now, in terms of maturity, and knowing how to play certain situations has definitely brought me a long way.”

With 287 runs in 12 matches, Mohammed was the second-highest run-getter for Amazon Warriors after Chris Lynn, and played a few key knocks in the side’s successful chases during the tournament. Last month, in the home series against England, he played his first ODI in a year and a half, and was one of the few bright spots in West Indies’ 3-0 defeat, scoring fifties in the first two matches.

On Friday, West Indies needed 128 off 13 overs with Mohammed batting on 15. He quickly switched gears, bringing up his fifty off 31 balls, and dominated the 70-run fifth-wicket partnership with Jonathan Carter, which revived the chase. That was followed by an unbroken 50-run partnership with Ashley Nurse for the seventh wicket.

Nurse, who took 4 for 62 in Pakistan’s innings, slammed 34 off 15 balls, while Mohammed ended the match with 11 fours and three sixes. Mohammed said he was a momentum player, who needed to settle in before going for the big shots.

“It was a very good innings. Coming in to bat early, there was a little bit of pressure in terms of strike rate and stuff but I knew that I had to play myself in and rotate the strike and gain momentum, and take it down to the end as much as possible. That’s exactly what we did as a team.

“As I always say, I tend to start off a little bit slower. I am a momentum player and I know that so long as I get my game right, it’s going to come off. Try and work the ball around till I get a start and then I can hit the ball when I get in. That was my plan today and everything worked out excellently.”

Nurse was pleased that three of his four wickets came in the last 15 overs of Pakistan’s chase, with the opposition looking for big overs. “My job first and foremost is to bowl and get people out so I was very happy with the wickets,” Nurse said. “I won’t say I was happy with the bowling because I bowled some bad balls in between but it was nice to get the Pakistan wickets when they were really going helter skelter at the back end, and it was nice to come back even in the last 10 overs and get some wickets.”

Coming in to bat with West Indies needing 50 off 33 balls, Nurse went after Pakistan’s quick bowlers in the end overs, buoyed by the fact that he had been striking the ball well in the nets.

“Jason was hitting the ball really nicely and he came out to rotate the strike,” Nurse said. “I was hitting the ball well in the nets so I knew my form was good and I just kept trying to hit the ball nice and straight and I backed myself to get the ball past the boundary and also give him the strike.”

The second ODI will be played in Providence on April 9. (ESPNCricinfo)

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