T20Is: Dominant Matthews gives West Indies 2-0 series lead against Pakistan


Another dominant all-round performance from Hayley Matthews helped West Indies women take a 2-0 series lead against Pakistan in Karachi. Muneeba Ali had scored a half-century earlier in the evening, but Matthews registered figures of 3-25 to stall Pakistan’s innings and keep them to a below-par total.

She then doubled as match-winner with the bat, too, her 58 off 43 all but ensuring the visitors’ chase would be a straightforward one, and that Pakistan would continue to remain winless.

Having missed out on chasing a near-identical score in the first T20I, Pakistan opted to bat first this time, only to see their innings fall into early peril. Gull Feroza struggled to get the ball off the square in a tortuous 29-ball 14 with Chinelle Henry in particular causing her considerable trouble. She struck to remove Sidra Ameen early, with the pressure of run-scoring falling onto Muneeba, and as a result, Pakistan limped to a mere 33 in the powerplay.

Muneeba injected some impetus into the innings, but her 47-ball 55 was the only Pakistan effort that went at better than a run a ball. An encouraging third-wicket partnership with Nida Dar was felled at a crucial moment in the 16th over, just as Pakistan may have felt they had the platform to launch at the death.

A masterful final over by Matthews saw three wickets fall and just five runs scored as Pakistan’s effort ended tamely, the home side hobbling to 121 on a pitch that looked like it offered significantly more.

Matthews aside, though, West Indies never really managed to get on top of the Pakistan bowlers either. The visitors did get off to a fast start, flying to 38 in the first five, but it was something of a one-woman show, with Matthews striking all five of West Indies’ boundaries in this time.

When the spin trio of Nashra Sandhu, Tuba Hassan and Nida Dar came on, Pakistan briefly regained some control, with West Indies reduced to scoring at just over six an over for the next six overs.

But it was wickets Pakistan needed, and West Indies were never required to take the risks that gave them a glimpse. By the time Sadia Iqbal prised Matthews out, West Indies needed just 34 to win, and had more than seven overs to do it in. When Shemaine Campbelle was cleaned up by Tuba, there may have been the faintest glimmer of hope for the home side, but the visitors were much too clinical, and had run Pakistan out of road by then.

When Chedean Nation sealed the win with a boundary, both sides were going through the motions, and there was a sense of a formality being completed.

The third of five T20Is is on April 30 in Karachi, with a win for West Indies guaranteeing a series victory. (ESPNcricinfo)

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