Pakistan's game plan left in tatters as Shoaib breaks down
by AFP

Ground:Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 19th January 2005


Pakistan's pre-match plan backfired badly here when their key but fragile strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar again broke down, allowing the West Indies to build a big innings in their tri-series limited over international at the Gabba ground.


Shoaib bowled just 2.5 overs before he left the ground for scans on a suspected hamstring injury -- the same problem which has plagued him throughout Pakistan's Australian tour.


The West Indians made the most of the situation with opener Chris Gayle leading the way with 82 as they reached 273 for five off their 50 overs.


For Pakistan the situation was grim from the outset. They had pinned their hopes on the overcast and humid conditions, early start and moist Gabba wicket combining to give their key paceman a dream platform.


Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had said on Tuesday his team wanted to get on the front foot against the West Indies and were relying on Shoaib taking early wickets.


But to their despair, the pitch also offered far less swing than was expected, allowing the West Indies to build their innings steadily from the start.


Gayle, who overcame a shoulder injury to play, was the dominant batsman of the opening duo, immediately scoring at a faster rate than Wavell Hinds.


Unlike their opening game in the competition against Australia when their top order crumbled, the West Indies took heed of captain Brian Lara's call for a solid start to the innings.


Wavell, who was dropped at second slip while on one, then teamed with Gayle to lead by example, putting on 86 runs from 18 overs, with the latter bringing up his half century in the same over.


Hinds eventually went for 29 after he was trapped into lofting a flighty delivery from Mohammad Hafeez to be caught in the outfield by Salman Butt.


A few balls later Gayle survived a run-out appeal by a hair's breadth after Shoaib Malik fielded, turned sharply and hit the stumps.


Gayle was finally trapped for 82 off 99 balls after skying an Abdul Razzaq delivery for a straightforward catch to Shoaib Malik.


His dismissal brought Lara to the crease to join Ramnaresh Sarwan.


The champion batsman showed fine touch from the outset and built a solid 39 from 30 deliveries before being caught off Naved-ul-Hasan.


Sarwan went on to build his innings, outlasting Ricardo Powell who made a golden duck, to be dismissed on 76 while attempting a slog on the last ball of the day.


For Pakistan, the bowling situation became desperate when opening batsman Salman Butt was brought into the attack in the 46th over.


Butt, an offspinner who has never bowled in one-day international cricket bowled a no-ball with his first delivery but was unlucky not to claim the wicket of Sarwan with his second when Yousuf Youhana dropped a catch.


Pakistan's bowling was often wayward, conceding 22 extras.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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