Malik, Hafeez hand Pakistan 2-1 series win
By Avenash Ramzan at Providence
(SEE SCOREBOARD BELOW)
The short-tailed shrew, a mouse-like animal, secretes venom from salivary glands in its lower jaw to paralyse prey. But the point of the paralysis is not to kill the prey, but to keep it alive for an extended period of time to allow for prolonged feeding.
For most of the run-chase in Tuesday’s third and decisive ODI at Providence, West Indies fell prey to not one, but two seasoned campaigners, who went for the kill strategically, just as you’d expect from expert hunters.
Pakistan, limping with three down at 36 in the ninth over, needed saline. A relatively straightforward run-chase had suddenly become complicated, and thoughts of Pakistan’s 26-year stranglehold on West Indies coming to an end began to float.
After setting Pakistan 234 to win the three-match series, a fired-up Shannon Gabriel removed Kamran Akmal first ball, caught off a leading edge at cover, and shattered the woodwork of the in-form Babar Azam, while a brilliant one-handed catch by keeper Shai Hope accounted for Ahmed Shehzad off Jason Holder.
Holder winning a first ODI series as captain was now a real possibility, but the job was far from over. Enter Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, the two most experienced players on either side.
It was by no means an easy task ahead, but nothing that they won’t know about. In the first match, they encountered a similar situation when the top order failed to fire, and the result was a winning total.
Today survival was the initial plan, for the target was known and there was the luxury of overs in hand, plenty of them. West Indies bowlers, Gabriel in particular, were spot on and scoring was difficult. Patience was key and Hafeez and Malik baited their time.
The partnership was premised on rotation of the strike. As the eyes got in, the boundaries came. As the confidence of both batsmen grew, strokeplay became fluent. They started to pick the gaps with ease, and the mantra was timing and placement when the line was good, and punishment when the bowlers erred.
Hafeez was the first to fifty, but Malik was blossoming nicely and as the partnership began to swell, shoulders began to drop in the outfield. That West Indies misfielded, committed overthrows and floored catches made the job easier for Pakistan.
When Hafeez fell for 81, the second time he was dismissed in the 80s this series and seventh time overall, 113 runs had been wiped off the target. 85 off 20 overs became a stroll as Malik opened up, pouncing on anything loose, while skipper Sarfraz Ahmed kept him company to the end.
Malik timed it well, hitting the first ball of the 44th over to bring up his ninth ODI hundred and seal the series win.
West Indies innings had a similar script. Again, a misfiring top order gave the early ascendancy to the opposition. Chadwick Walton, Evin Lewis and Kieran Powell were all back in the pavillion by the 19th over with just 68 on the board.
Shai Hope and Jason Mohammed changed the whole momentum of the innings with a century partnership, with the latter being the aggressor. Playing with the fluency of a man in supreme form, Mohammed took the bowling head on, cruising to 59 off 64, his second half-century of the series and fourth in eight ODI innings.
By contrast, Hope opted for a cautious approach and his 71 off 112 was the glue that kept West Indies together. It was old-fashioned one-day batting, but it was effective in the circumstances, as it aided in giving the bowlers something to work with.
It wasn’t the total Holder envisaged though when he opted to bat upon winning the toss for the third straight game. It wasn’t the result he was hoping for either.
His wait for a maiden series win as West Indies ODI captain continues. He can take solace in the fact that stalwarts like Malik and Hafeez can take apart the very best on their day.
Today West Indies weren’t and they paid the price.
E Lewis c Mohammad Hafeez b Junaid Khan 16
C Walton b Hasan Ali 19
K Powell st Sarfraz Ahmed b Imad Wasim 23
+S Hope c Shoaib Malik b Shadab Khan 71
J Mohammed c wkp Sarfraz Ahmed b Junaid Khan 59
J Carter b Shadab Khan 11
*J Holder c Shadab Khan b Mohammad Amir 12
A Nurse not out 10
V Permaul c Mohammad Hafeez b Mohammad Amir 8
D Bishoo run out 0
Extras (lb1, w3) 4
TOTAL (9 wkts, 50 overs) 233
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-40, 3-68, 4-169, 5-192, 6-211, 7-219, 8-231, 9-233
Bowling: Mohammad Amir 9-0-41-2, Junaid Khan 10-0-60-2 (w1), Hasan Ali 6-1-29-1, Mohammad Hafeez 7-0-21-0 (w1), Imad Wasim 10-1-24-1, Shadab Khan 9-0-57-2 (w1)
Kamran Akmal c Powell b Gabriel 0
Ahmed Shehzad c wkp Hope b Holder 3
Babar Azam b Gabriel 16
Mohammad Hafeez c Permaul b Nurse 81
Shoaib Malik not out 101
*+Sarfraz Ahmed not out 24
Extras (b3, lb4, w3, nb1) 11
TOTAL (4 wkts, 43.1 overs) 236
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-16, 3-36, 4-149
Bowling: Gabriel 10-0-62-2 (w1, nb1), Holder 8.1-137-1 (w1), Bishoo 10-1-42-0 (w1), Permaul 4-0-31-0, Nurse 10-0-49-1, Mohammed 1-0-10-0