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Pakistan scamper past West Indies
by Rohit Sakunia


Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Player:NO Miller, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamer, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2009/10

DateLine: 23rd September 2009

 

When the West Indian skipper Floyd Reifer vowed that his team would play "the best cricket possible", this was something which was hardly expected of their batsman. The batting looked exceptionally inept in handling quality bowling. They fell like a pack of cards and had it not been for little efforts from Darren Sammy and Nikita Miller, the West Indians would have fallen for their second lowest total.

 

The Windies then put everything they had when they bowled and fielded but their score was nowhere close to give Pakistan any chance of goofing up. Pakistan in the end, courtesy some good batting by Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi, finished the small hurdle with 19 overs and 5 wickets to spare.

 

Chasing 134, Pakistan as always shaked first up. Gavin Tonge struck twice to lift West Indies a little. Tonge started off with a wicket-maiden first over, in which Imran Nazir was bowled courtesy a late-swinging full delivery, He then fooled Kamran Akmal with seam and bounce. Though there were good balls but the plenty of loose deliveries on offer made sure Malik and Mohammad Yousuf went about their job in a composed manner till the break.

 

Malik also put away the wayward deliveries, driving handsomely through the off side and clipping well off his pads. His partner Yousuf took some time to get into his stride, especially against Tonge who hit him in the ribs and should have got him on 1 had Darren Sammy not erred at second slip. But post these hassles, the right-hander settled in and drove a four past extra cover off Tonge before the interval.

 

Post the break, the story changed a little as Tonge returned in a new spell scalping both Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf in consecutive overs. While Malik edged a length ball through to the keeper, Yousuf became a victim of dubious umpiring. The right-hander looked to glance a leg-side delivery which kissed the thigh pad on its way to the keeper. The umpire thought there was some glove involved and Mohammad Yousuf had to take the long way back.

 

Known to be a good finisher, Misbah-ul-Haq's stay at the crease was also shortlived as he fished at a delivery outside off, only to edge it to Walton. The wicketkeeper it must be said was having a gala time behind the stumps having been involved in four out of the five dismissals thus far.

 

Pakistan were in little trouble at this stage with 58 still needed to win and not much batting to come. Skipper Shahid Afridi and youngster Umar Akmal though had other ideas. The duo stuck together, made sure they cleared the hard times and eventually completed the formalities. It was especially heartening to see Afridi play with so much maturity with a youngster. The Pathan wellknown as a basher of the cricket ball gave Umar most of the strike and it was the younger Akmal who made the ropes most of the time. Pakistan finally finished with 5 wickets and more than 15 overs to spare but learning nonetheless were far too many, especially for the crumbling top-order.

 

Earlier in the day, West Indies skipper Floyd Reifer won the toss and decided to bat first. The decision in itself was surprising considering the fact that Shahid Afridi, the losing skipper wanted to field had he would have won the toss. Afridi stated that there was something for the bowlers on the track and he was looking forward to his pacers to utilise the early advantage.

 

Afridi was bang on, as Pakistan's new trio of fast bowlers used the pitch to the fullest. To be precise, it has to be mentioned that there was no devilish support from the pitch, neither did the Pakistani pacers bowled any special deliveries but good line and length proved enough for a line-up that still needs to learn a lot before playing at this level.

 

Mohammad Aamer started the carnage, sending back Dale Richards in the first over, via a caught and bold. Andre Fletcher was the next casualty poking at one that wasn't full enough and the ball went in the air to Imran Nazir at backward point. Aamer then scalped Travis Dowling for 0, trying to cut a delivery that just too full.

 

Then Umar Gul was introduced and he immediately found success scalping the most experienced West Indian batsman. He came around the wicket and Devon Smith, lobbed a sharp rising delivery to second slip. From this stage at 36 for 4 Pakistan made sure the West Indians never had a chance. Aamer returned from different end after a break and ripped one through David Bernard, and when Gul sent back Reifer and Chadwick Walton off successive deliveries in the 15th over it was all but over for the Windies.

 

Darren Sammy and Nikita Miller then denied the inevitable for a while and what they could only achieve was avoidingtheir team to fold for their second lowest score ever. Sammy (25) especially looked elegant as he freely went about scoring his runs on the off-side before getting bowled out off Saeed Ajmal. Miller also showed good temperament and joined the boundary bandwagon with three fours off Ajmal's second over. He was the last wicket to fall for 51 off 57 balls as West Indies finished on 133.


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