First T20: West Indies soundly beaten by clinical Pakistan

SUMMARY: Pakistan 200-6 from 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78 off 52, Haider Ali 68 off 39, Mohammad Nawaz 30* off 10; Romario Shepherd 2-43) vs West Indies 137 all out in 19 overs (Shai Hope 31 off 26, Odean Smith 24 off 16, Rovman Powell 23 off 15, Romario Shepherd 21 off 16; Mohammad Wasim 4-40, Shadab Khan 3-17)

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Pakistan were provided a peek into their middle order future in the absence of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Haider Ali showed why he’s the next big thing, overcoming a slow start before springing the innings to life with a robust 39-ball 68 to set the tone for a dominant batting display.

Pakistan’s 200-6 was more than sufficient as West Indies unravelled easily against spin. The Karachi faithful went home perhaps wishing for a more even contest.

An eventful start

Babar Azam was out second ball after West Indies elected to bowl. Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein got one to spin sharply to take the edge to Shai Hope, the wicketkeeper.

Then, Fakhar Zaman fell to Romario Shepherd’s change of pace as he toe-ended a slog to long-on. Inside the powerplay, Pakistan were two down and sputtering like a two-stroke engine running on kerosene.

Mohammad Rizwan continued his fine form (Photo: PCB)

Rizwan and Haider’s recovery

Mohammad Rizwan kept the runs ticking along with timely boundaries, extremely quick on the pull.

His picking of lengths against pace was immaculate as he raised a 34-ball half-century.

However, he had to hold his end of the bargain against spin, especially off Hosein, who finished his four overs with 1-19 by the 11th over.

At that stage, Haider was on 12 off 14, looking for the big hits without being able to hit them clean. Then, like a flick of a switch, it all turned around.

Off the 12th over, he climbed into Odean Smith‘s medium pace, hitting him for three fours and six to get his innings going.

It proved to be the trigger for a run-surge from there.

Under his bus were debutant Dominic Drakes, who also struggled for consistency, as Haider raised his half-century with an 83-metre six. It had come off just 28 balls, with Pakistan at 140-2 at the 15-over mark.

Off the first ball of the 16th, Rizwan was out as Odean’s running catch around the ropes at deep midwicket sent him back for 78. A 105-run third-wicket stand had been broken.

Nawaz’s finish

Rizwan’s exit gave six-hitter Asif Ali the platform to launch into an inexperienced attack, but he managed just 1. With Iftikhar Ahmed too failing, Pakistan needed someone to side with Haider. As it turned out, Mohammad Nawaz did more.

His three fours and two sixes blindsided the visitors, who until then were hoping to restrict Pakistan to 180. That was to change, however, as the 19th over by Romario Shepherd went for 21, thereby allowing for a massive finish.

Pakistan’s Shadab Khan (second right) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of West Indies’ Shamarh Brooks (not pictured) during the first Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies at the National Stadium in Karachi on December 13, 2021. (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP)

Wasim’s rip-roaring spell

First ball: a glorious cover drive on the up. Third ball: a short-arm jab for six. Enough to demoralise a rookie 20-year-old wanting to impress the team management? Not Mohammad Wasim.

He responded with pin-point yorker to flatten Nicholas Pooran’s off-stump as he was late on the shot. Perhaps he underestimated Wasim’s pace.

Then, off the second legitimate delivery off his next over, the sixth of the innings, he struck comeback man Devon Thomas flush on his boot. Gone, he didn’t even bother reviewing. West Indies were 46 for 3 inside the Powerplay.

Nawaz, Shadab apply the choke

With the target already looking beyond reach and the asking rate spiralling by the minute, Nawaz and Shadab Khan spun a web around the batters, using the crease and variations in length superbly to tie the batters down.

Hope was out lbw sweeping, Shamarh Brooks bowled trying to heave into the leg side and Rovman Powell caught brilliantly by a diving Nawaz at long-on.

At 88-7, West Indies were in danger of being bowled out well inside 20 overs. However, Odean (24 off 16) and Shepherd (21 off 16) got together to swing their bats for some powerful blows. although they merely served to reduce the margin of defeat. (ESPNCricinfo)

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