Pakistan complete ODI whitewash

A dismal season became a diabolical one tonight in Saint Lucia as the West Indies ended a One-Day International home campaign with eight consecutive defeats. Tonight’s third straight defeat to Bob Woolmer’s resurgent Pakistani side further deepened the gloom brought on by South Africa’s prior 5-0 thrashing of the hosts.

A characteristically explosive Shahid Afridi start rallied the visitors at an early rate of eight runs per over – including 14 runs off the last three balls of Bradshaw’s fifth over before the resulting introduction of Corey Collymore produced a leg-stump half volley sufficiently innocuous to provoke a miscue to deep square leg. With the jet-propelled start secured, Pakistan were then able to pace the middle overs of their innings as Bazid Khan – his first ODI milestone – and Yousuf Youhana added methodical fifties to Yasir Hameed’s 41.

Stand-in captain Younis Khan added a breezy 40 from number five despite Courtney Browne missing a stumping early on, before the West Indian gloveman partially redeemed himself as he held Abdul Razzaq before the all-rounder had a chance to cause any real damage. Given the start achieved, the West Indies seemed on course for a modicum of respectability to be awarded to their containment efforts, until Kamran Akmal went four better than Afridi’s earlier three-ball burst – and deposited Bradshaw out of the playing field three times in a row to push his side above 300.

Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle replied in an unusually restrained manner early on, until Gayle tucked into Rana Naved-ul-Hasan’s bowling to the tune of 17 runs from one over to inspire the Gros Islet crowd to thoughts of an unlikely triumph. A double strike from Abdul Razzaq swiftly strangled the first embers of hope, Hinds looping a pull to Akmal before Ramnaresh Sarwan laced a cover drive to a delighted Younis at cover.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Runako Morton both provided support to the increasingly flamboyant Gayle as the left-hander raced to his eleventh ODI century but neither were able to stay with him for an extended period of time, and the departure of Morton going for another of the big shots needed to stay with the accelerating required rate brought about the beginning of the end.

Dwayne Smith came and went without scoring before a cameo from his namesake Bravo brought the margin closer, with 54 needed from the final five overs until Gayle fell courtesy of another smart catch in the covers by Younis for 124, including 13 boundaries. A huge six from Courtney Browne lightened spirits briefly before Bravo fell, playing across a straight ball from Naved. Browne followed in the seamer’s next (and last) over, before Pedro Collins provided a slight variation on theme by getting his pads in the way.

The last rites were applied with three balls remaining, Bradshaw holing out to Yasir Hameed to become Razzaq’s fourth scalp. Brian Lara returns to the West Indian fold for Thursday’s first Test in Bridgetown – but whether it will be enough to save an increasingly devastating summer for the Caribbean islanders and new coach Bennett King remains to be seen. With visits to Sri Lanka and Australia to come, this could be the last chance for Test success for some time.

Pakistan 303-5
Bazid Khan 66, Shahid Afridi 56
Corey Collymore 2-51, Ian Bradshaw 2-78

West Indies 281
Chris Gayle 124, Wavell Hinds 35
Abdul Razzaq 4-45, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan 3-48

Pakistan won by 22 runs

Pakistan won the 3-ODI series 3-0

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Chris Gayle (West Indies) – 124

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