Sarfaraz won the toss and unexpectedly chose to bat first. In his short stint as captain he’s generally decided to chase. The slow nature of the pitch demonstrated in the past t20 is probably the main factor behind his decision.
Once again Samuel Badree opened the bowling for the West Indies. He started with a rank full toss which was dispatched the boundary. His fortunes changed immediately as he took the wickets of Ahmed Shehzad and Imad Wasim in the same over. At 5-2 Pakistan were in huge trouble.
The third wicket partnership between cousins Kamran Akmal & Babar Azam put on 88 for the third wicket. The pair batted brilliantly together milking singles accompanied with the odd boundary.
After 10 overs Pakistan were 76-2 and in a prime position to launch with eight wickets in hand. The next five overs were disappointing with the team managing only 34 runs at the expense of two wickets, including the in-form Shoaib Malik.
The lack of power hitters at the death once again proved to be a huge issue for Pakistan as they only managed to put up 137. After the start they had they really should have scored more. The pitch I felt didn’t play as slow as the first game so free scoring wasn’t too difficult.
The West Indian innings started of slowly taking only 2 off the first over against Imad Wasim. Things turned worse when opener Chadwick Walton lost his wicket in the second over courtesy of a brilliant catch by Fakhar Zaman.
Samuels joined Lewis and once again started of well. The pair put pressure on the Pakistani bowlers and it was the first time in the series the West Indies batsmen looked in command. The partnership put on 56 for the second wicket and reduced the required run rate to 6.
Against the run of play Samuels lost his wicket to a cleverly disguised slower ball by his Peshawar Zalmi teammate, Wahab Riaz. In came newcomer Jason Mohammed who looked assured against the Pakistan spin attack. The partnership was key in taking the West Indies over the line making it 2-1.
The highlight of the day was left handed opener Lewis. The batsman hasn’t had much success against Pakistan, but today he put that right smashing 90 odd at a blistering rate. He looked at ease against all bowlers and his innings was reminiscent of his t20 100 against India where he bludgeoned the ball.
The most positive aspect from the West Indies perspective is the way they handled Shadab Khan. The spinner has tormented them throughout the series, but today they played him with conviction and he failed to make a mark, which one of the major reasons for the victory.
A lot has been made about the decision to promote Imad Wasim to number 3. I personally am fine with the move, as I believe in the t20 format you have to improvise at times. It didn’t work today but it might next time. The logic behind sending Imad was for him to counter Badree with him being a left-hander. The two issues I have with that is firstly, Fakhar Zaman is a top order batsman and he too is a left-hander so why wasn’t he preferred? Secondly, sending a left-hander in to counter left-arm spin is a good tactical move. Against a leg-spinner it might not work as the spinner has a googly, which defeats the purpose.
Pakistan has to come back stronger and assess the way they are going forward. The likes of Sohail Tanvir have continuously failed under pressure so I struggle to see why he is selected. His overall bowling statsitics in t20 are hardly inspiring taking less then 1 wicket per game. As well as this, the batting order has to be re-shuffled. Sarfaraz is a must in the middle order and he simply won’t work down the order.
In a way this loss may work as a positive for Pakistan. Even when they were winning I noticed glaring issues with the team composition. These losses may force them to fix them.
Ahmed Shehzad – 0.5
After hitting his first delivery for four I thought this might be Shehzad’s day. In his previous two innings he hasn’t made a significant total so this innings was very important for him. With 4 off his first ball he decided to dance down the track to Samuel Badree. As a batsman you have to understand your options against certain bowlers. Badree is not the kind of bowler you want to charge due to his quick pace. He skids the ball on making it difficult to advance to him. I felt is was a very poor option for Shehzad and he didn’t sum up the situation well.
Kamran Akmal 8/10
Without the gloves Kamran has to ensure he’s more consistent with the bat. The management has simplified his role and he is made to solely focus on his game with the bat. His innings today was outstanding. He like Shehzad hasn’t made a mark so far this series, but he certainly stood up today. In the previous few innings he hasn’t looked too comfortable against the spin of Badree, but today he took it on and it paid dividends.
Imad Wasim 4/10
Imad was sent in at number three yet failed to make a contribution. He couldn’t pick a googly delivered by Samuel Badree, he overbalanced and was subsequently stumped. I do feel we will see the best of Imad when he’s up the order, but maybe not at three. With the ball he was his usual self-restricting the batsmen to score freely, especially in his first two overs. His third over wasn’t the best getting hit for consecutive sixes. Teams are starting to work him out and he has to counter this by developing a delivery that actually spins.
Babar Azam 7.5/10
It was the third innings in a row Babar has scored 27 or more. In all three games he’s got starts but he’s failed to kick on and make a significant impact. I thought he played really well today in the partnership with Kamran Akmal. He wasn’t the aggressor in the partnership, but he played his part in ensuring in Pakistan reach a top total. After hitting a six, Babar played a very poor stroke. He should have continued on and it’s something stopping him from reaching the World-class level.
Shoaib Malik – 1/10
It was the first failure of the tour for Malik. He looked jittery at the crease ever since he arrived, playing four dot balls to Marlon Samuels. Today I felt he was fairly unlucky with his dismissal, possibly timing the ball to well to the fielder in the deep. I was surprised he didn’t get a chance to bowl in first two games. Today he was given a go yet failed to make a mark going for 11 from his first over.
Fakhar Zaman 3/10
With the debut nerves gone, I expected Zaman to bat a little more freely. Once again in an un-natural position, he started his innings against spin and immediately impressed slog sweeping for 6. In domestic cricket he’s generally batted brilliantly against spin, and it’s something he showed once again. His role today was to provide runs at the back end of the innings. It’s a job he’s not used to therefore I feel it’s tough to expect much. To get the most out of Fakhar, he must open the innings.
Sarfaraz Ahmed 4/10
Number 7 is not the position for Sarfaraz Ahmed. A number 7 batsman has to have a power game and this is an area Sarfaraz lacks. His ideal position is number 4/5, where he can rotate strike, something that comes natural to him. I like the way he has been selfless and let others have a go, but I personally feel he needs to take responsibility and come up the order. He is one of the best players of spin in World cricket.
Wahab Riaz 7/10
After a sensational knock in the previous game, it was a hero to zero moment for Wahab. He was promoted up the order after his exploits but failed to make a contribution batting at the death. In his main role as a bowler he managed to take a wicket in his first over of the dangerous Samuels. In his second over he found reverse and bowled a testing over against the firing Lewis. I felt Wahab looked in great touch with the ball and he was the only bowler to put up a fight.
Sohail Tanvir 0/10
Tanvir’s role in this team is that of a bowling all-rounder meaning he must provide runs at the death of the innings. Once again he failed to do so and it is a major concern. With the ball he went for 16 off his first two overs and really handed momentum to the West Indies. Time and time again he’s failed to stand up for Pakistan when it matters. At the death he was carted around the park, but it’s nothing new. We’ve seen this numerous times for the supposed ‘t20 expert’. As well as this, we saw several misfields from him. It’s time to move on.
Shadab Khan 2/10
The question on my mind before this game was ‘Can Shadab Khan do better?’ Judging by the amount of spin Badree got in the first innings, I felt Shadab would be licking his lips. For such a young man a lot of expectations have been placed on his shoulders, and sometimes that’s tough to deal with. After Pakistan made a low score, heads turned to Shadab to rescue the team. Today he couldn’t do it. It doesn’t make him a bad bowler. It’s all part of the learning experience. He dragged a lot of deliveries down today and hopefully it’s something he will learn from.
Hasan Ali 2/10
Being the only right-arm pacer in the team, Hasan provides variety in the attack. He came in to this game full of confidence after his brilliant final over in the second t20. His confidence was cut short after being hit for 12 in his first over. I felt he should have used his cutters a lot more today. In my view Hasan should be opening the bowling. He generates brilliant away swing but he can’t produce that as a first change bowler.
Belligerent Lewis inspires West Indies to a win
Belligerent Lewis inspires West Indies to a win