A change in captains resulted in a change of luck in terms of the toss. The West Indies won the toss and opted to field first. The pitch is Guyana is generally very low and slow with 300 scored only once. This pitch however, was new so it was an unknown quantity. This may be the reason why Jason Holder decided to bowl first to see how the pitch plays out.
Kamran and Shehzad who had fairly decent t20 series were set to open the batting. Kamran on his comeback to the ODI team started off well hitting his second delivery for four. Things got even better when he was given a free-hit, which he dispatched for six to the leg-side. The momentum was with Pakistan after a great first four overs where Kamran especially excelled.
That momentum slightly shifted in the next two overs as the West Indies proceeded to bowl two maidens in a row. Despite the pressure the Pakistani batsman continued on their way and after the first powerplay they managed to score 59. Although the score looked decent, 40 out of the 60 balls were dot balls suggesting both players need to increase strike rotation.
The West Indies bowling looked fairly innocuous and with both batsmen set at the crease after 10 overs, things were looking good for Pakistan. The pair continued to bat on and look impressive until the partnership was eventually cut short when Holder took the wicket of the in-form Kamran Akmal.
Surprisingly in came Mohammad Hafeez rather then the expected Babar Azam. He joined Shehzad at the wicket who yet again struggled for fluency. Hafeez and Shehzad batted together for 13 overs at a relatively low rate. The pressure they created on themselves led to Shehzad’s wicket, and it was then when Babar Azam came to the crease. At this point the innings was in need of some injection due to the slow batting of the previous batsmen.
Hafeez continued to bat at a poor rate and this eventually cost the valuable wicket of Babar Azam. Upon reaching his 50 Hafeez eventually opened up and his strike rate improved. Meanwhile, Malik at the other hand continued to impress rotating strike and hitting the odd boundary along the way.
At the end of 40 overs Pakistan was 216/3 with two set batsmen at the wicket. The next 5 overs proved to be fruitful where the two took the score to 264. The emergence of Malik was the defining factor. His style of play rubbed off on his partner who changed gears. Hafeez was eventually dismissed for 88 and in came the captain Sarfaraz in a scenario that isn’t natural to him. Malik continued to be aggressive towards the end of the innings and led Pakistan to reach a healthy total of 308.
The West Indies made a decent start to there chase. The first wicket of Walton fell courtesy of Mohammad Amir with the score at 23. In came Kieran Powell who combined with Lewis to put on a large partnership. The two put on 68 for the second wicket. They occupied the crease well but failed to rotate strike and as a result there partnership run rate was a mere 3.96. Things seemed to be getting better with Lewis hitting Hafeez for a 6, but the spinner came back tremendously well a delivery later taking his off-stump.
With the run rate looking fairly difficult, wicket keeper Hope joined the struggling Powell at the crease. The right-hander injected a bit of life in to the innings and he and his partner looked to be getting a move on regularly rotating strike. The most impressive factor was the way in which they handled Shadab early in his spell.
With 20 overs left the West Indies needed 165 runs. A task that was definitely manageable, especially with 8 wickets in hand. One of those 8 wickets fell when Wahab Riaz was called for his second spell. That wicket brought a lot of pressure upon the West Indies and with the new batsman taking time to get settled in, the required run rate increased.
With the required run rate getting out of hand, captain Sarfaraz brought on debutant Shadab who after struggling in his first four overs, came back to take the wicket of Shai Hope. It was expected for the West Indies to falter from this position but in came Carter who joined Jason Mohammed. The pair put on another partnership to give Sarfaraz something to think about. With 10 overs left the West Indies needed 93 runs.
Jason Mohammed who looked impressive during the t20 series continued on his great form sparing no bowler. It was only due to him the West Indies were in a position to chase the target. The partnership between to the two was ended via Mohammed Amir and in came captain Jason Holder in a position that would suit his style of play. Holder looked good, but it was the partnership between Mohammed and Nurse, which took the West Indies over the line, in a very unlikely victory. The two pummelled the Pakistani bowling which had no answer to there bravery. It was the first time in the history of West Indies cricket that they've chased a total over 300. A wonderful effort which has to be applauded.
In the end it was the lack of runs that cost Pakistan the game. The slow rate of Hafeez and Shehzad has to be questioned. As well as this, Sarfaraz’s captaincy was extremely poor. Shadab at the 40th over had only bowled 6 overs, by this time he should have been bowled out.
Ahmed Shehzad 5/10
Although Shehzad finished with a respectable score, I felt he could have improved on his innings. Once again it was his lack of ability to rotate the strike that hurt the team. He’s had this issue since 2011 when he was inducted in to the team. 6 years later he has the same issue and that suggests it’s something he hasn’t learnt from. On a flat pitch against a mediocre bowling attack he has to do better. Against better opposition it is likely to catch him out. He lost his wicket to the off-spin of Nurse.
Kamran Akmal – 7.5/10
The first few deliveries Kamran played demonstrated the kind of form he is in. On a pitch that generally has a reputation of being slow he looked in full command right from the very start. His ability to hit the ball on both sides of the wicket was in full force and he looked set for a ton. Sadly for him his innings was cut short when he was out on 47. Whilst it may seem like a decent score I believe he should have done better against a mediocre attack. These are the kind of opportunities he must cash in on.
Mohammad Hafeez 6/10
I thought it was a mediocre innings by Hafeez, and you could say fairly selfish. As the commentator said “he looks to be playing for his own score” and it was clearly on show. He came to the crease with Pakistan scoring at 5.5 an over. At one point his strike rate was 55. The scorecard might suggest he had a decent score but I didn’t rate the innings. He took up way too many deliveries to kick start his innings. With the ball it was expected he’d do well with the amount of left-handers in the West Indies line up and he did, taking his first wicket in the ODI format since his action was cleared.
Babar Azam – 4/10
Coming in at number 4 to accommodate the professor, Babar never really got going in this innings. His partner who went at a pedestrian rate throughout his innings didn’t help him and the overall innings lacked fluency. Babar is a number 3 batsman and he should be batting there.
Shoaib Malik – 9/10
It was a really tough situation for Malik to walk in to with the team going at an extremely slow rate. Despite this he batted the way he has been doing for the past two years, and that is as Pakistan’s best limited overs batsman. Malik was the only batsman to play at a strike rate of over 100.
Sarfaraz Ahmed – 5/10
I’ve said this many times before; Sarfaraz’s natural position is in the middle order. He is not a late order power hitter and he proved it yet again today where he struggled to hit the big shots at the death. He is one of the Worlds best players of spin and he is wasting his talent batting down the order. I thought as a captain he was very poor. Yes Shadab didn’t have the best day, but I feel Wahab under bowled him. By the 40th over Shadab had only bowled 6 overs. By this time ideally he should be bowled out.
Imad Wasim – 4/10
Coming in at the death of the innings Imad scored 6 off 6. His role in the team as a batsman is to provide runs at a brisk rate and he hasn’t been able to do this of late. Of course he’d be suited to batting up the order but he has to make do with what he’s got. With the ball he came on in the 29th over, the latest he’s ever come on. He started and looked look in his first few overs, but was taken for a few runs in his last few overs.
Shadab Khan 6/10
After a wonderful t20 series all eyes were on Shadab to see how he’d perform in the 50 over version. His first 4 overs didn’t go to plan as he was hit for 24 runs. I felt he was bowling too full and this allowed the batsmen to drive him down the ground. In his 5th over he came back beautifully and bowled the delivery of the day against Hope. His mettle was tested when he came on in the death and unfortunately for him he was taken for a few runs.
Wahab Riaz – 4/10
Riaz hasn’t had a good time of it of late in the ODI format where he’s consistently gone for runs. Prior to this game he’s averaged 63 in the format since January 2016. Towards the death of the game in the crunch situations Wahab was taken a liking to and went for quite a few runs. His poor ODI run continues.
Hasan Ali 3/10
Hassan opened the bowling and went for 10 off his first over. He came in to the ODI series on the back of an impressive t20 series so must have been full of confidence. After 5 overs he went for 43 runs and he looked all over the place. I was surprised to see the lack of cutters, something he generally has a lot of success with.
Mohammed Amir 6/10
Since his comeback Amir has played almost every Pakistan game, which isn’t ideal. It was good to see him rested during the t20 series. This rest could do him good. He started off opening the bowling and gained a bit of inswing. Early on in his spell he took the wicket of Walton. I thought he looked a little rusty having bowled quite a few wides. Amir came back in the final stages of the game and took the important wicket of Carter, but at the crucial stage he couldn’t contain the in form Mohammed, which ruined his, figures slightly.
Jason Mohammad guided West Indies to a historic win
Jason Mohammad guided West Indies to a historic win