Fans turn up; West Indies didn’t


By Avenash Ramzan at Providence


Mood swing is a natural phenomenon in human beings. For West Indies, it seems like their birthright to effortlessly invoke those emotions.

The jubilation and enthusiasm of Friday’s miraculous win scripted by Jason Mohammed and Ashley Nurse vanished two days later as despair and discontentment lurked at Providence on a hot Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t the type of performance that the thousands who came out expected, even if they were in denial about the consistent level of inconsistency that has plagued the regional side.

Jason Holder led a West Indies fightback, but it was inadequate

For the first 40 overs of the game, West Indies had the remote on Pakistan batters. The next 10 hit a bumpy road. In the first 14 overs of the chase, the wheels came off. For the remainder of the innings, it was about damage control.

Done and dusted when Jason Holder looped a catch to Babar Azam running in from long-off to hand Hasan Ali a maiden five-fer, West Indies’ 74-run defeat meant they have yet again failed to win two ODI matches on the trot. August 2014 against Bangladesh was the last time the Caribbean side managed to pull off two or more successive wins.

After loose bowling in the last 10 overs allowed Pakistan to dash to 282, West Indies top five seemed in a hurry to force a decider on Tuesday. With the exception of Evin Lewis and Kieran Powell to an extent, injudicious shot selection- a salient trait of modern-day West Indies teams- again raised its ugly head.

Not that Pakistan didn’t bowl well. They created the opportunities and West Indies simply obliged. Chadwick Walton’s rush of blood, skying a short of a length delivery from Junaid Khan to mid-on, set the wheel in motion.

An over later, Lewis was beaten for pace. Four overs after Shai Hope slapped a short and wide delivery straight to point. Kieran Powell was struck plumb in front. And Mohammed’s sweep shot ballooned for the keeper to complete a diving catch.

One delivery short of the 14th over and half the side back in the hut; only 56 runs to show for their effort, or more aptly, lack thereof. An uphill task confronted the lower-order, and when Jonathon Carter swung at air on his ill-advised sweep shot to a straight one from Mohammed Hafeez, the end seemed near.

Pakistan sensed the kill, but their push for a gigantic margin of victory was stalled by Holder and Nurse, who were clearly not prepared to go down without a fight. Thankfully, a conducive pitch allowed them to be adventurous, and Nurse continued from where he left off on Friday.

He dominated a 58-run, seventh-wicket partnership with the skipper, but when Hasan removed him leg before for 44, Pakistan regained the momentum. Devendra Bishoo struck two fours in 18, but his dismissal at 156-8 in the 34th over further shattered West Indies hopes of a come-from-behind win.

Holder and Alzarri Joseph provided some entertainment in a half-century partnership, but their effort only served to reduce the margin of defeat. Holder’s ability with the bat has never been in doubt, and his 68 put the top order, which again was a no-show, to shame. 

Babar Azam made his fifth ODI ton

That Pakistan reached what evolved into an insurmountable total was largely due to the artistry of Babar Azam and the brute of Imad Wasim.  

West Indies had kept a stranglehold on proceedings up until the duo joined forces at 183-5 in the 39th over. Babar was well entrenched on 75, effortlessly rotating the strike and picking the gaps, opting against the big shots. 

By contrast, Imad seemed perturbed by the slothfulness of Pakistan’s scoring, and took matters in his own hands. Imad’s pair of fours and sixes in an unbeaten 43 off just 35 balls allowed Babar to play more freely and the right-hander opened up in the death overs. 

He unleashed three sixes and similar number of fours on his way to a fifth ODI ton and fourth in five innings against West Indies. A magnificent last-ball straight six by Babar off Carter, who was strangely handed the final over, meant Pakistan had raked in 94 off the last 10 overs, 46 of which came in the last three. 

It gave Pakistan momentum heading into the break, as West Indies lost the plot. It would spill over in the run-chase, and for the first 14 overs the prospects of a decider on Tuesday became abundantly clear.


Pakistan innings (50 overs maximum)   

Ahmed Shehzad              c †Hope b Gabriel           5

Kamran Akmal                c †Hope b Joseph           21         

Babar Azam                     not out                            125       

Mohammad Hafeez       st †Hope b Nurse            32         

Shoaib Malik                    c †Hope b Bishoo            9

Sarfraz Ahmed*†            c Walton b Gabriel         26

Imad Wasim                     not out                             43

Extras   (b-1, lb-9, w-9, nb-2)                                  21         

Total     (5 wickets; 50 overs)                                282       

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Ahmed Shehzad, 4.5 ov), 2-44 (Kamran Akmal, 8.6 ov), 3-113 (Mohammad Hafeez, 25.0 ov), 4-128 (Shoaib Malik, 28.5 ov), 5-183 (Sarfraz Ahmed, 38.4 ov)

Bowling: ST Gabriel 10-1-50-2 (1-nb, 2-w), JO Holder 9-0-48-0 (1-w), AS Joseph 9-0-69-1 (1-nb, 3-w), D Bishoo 10-0-40-1, AR Nurse 10-0-42-1 (3-w), JL Carter 2-0-23-0

West Indies innings (target: 283 runs from 50 overs)     

E Lewis                lbw b Mohammad Amir              13         

CAK Walton       c Hasan Ali b Junaid Khan           10         

SD Hope†           c Shadab Khan b Hasan Ali          15         

KOA Powell        lbw b Hasan Ali               11         

JL Carter             lbw b Hafeez          12

JN Mohammed               c †Ahmed b Hafeez              1           

JO Holder*         c Babar Azam b Hasan Ali           68         

AR Nurse            lbw b Hasan Ali               44         

D Bishoo             lbw b Shadab Khan        16         

AS Joseph           c Babar Azam b Hasan Ali           15         

ST Gabriel          not out                                           0           

Extras   (lb-1, w-2)                                                   3

Total     (all out; 44.5 overs)                            208       

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Walton, 3.1 ov), 2-27 (Lewis, 4.2 ov), 3-46 (Hope, 8.2 ov), 4-51 (Powell, 10.1 ov), 5-56 (Mohammed, 13.5 ov), 6-75 (Carter, 17.4 ov), 7-133 (Nurse, 28.6 ov), 8-156 (Bishoo, 33.6 ov), 9-208 (Joseph, 44.1 ov), 10-208 (Holder, 44.5 ov)

Bowling: Mohammad Amir 7-1-36-1, Junaid Khan 6-0-41-1 (1-w), Hasan Ali 8.5-1-38-5, Mohammad Hafeez 6-0-23-2, Imad Wasim 7-0-29-0 (1-w), Shadab Khan 10-1-40-1

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