Pakistan clinch series

Pakistan has claimed an unassailable 2 – 0 ODI series lead after defeating the West Indies by 40 runs, reducing them to their 7th straight loss.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Pakistan got off to a shaky start against a West Indian attack which was displaying a certain new-found heart. Some early pressure from Daren Powell earnt him the prized wicket of Shahid Afridi, caught by Hinds for just 12. Powell then ran Salman Butt out for 16, leaving the tourists struggling on 33 for 2.

After only two more runs had been posted on the board, a tentative Shoaib Malik edged to Chris Gayle at first slip, who put the ball down, fumbling his chance to put his side well and truly on top.

Malik went on to score 51, proving Gayle’s mistake to be very costly. Yousuf Youhana chipped in with 21 runs and Inzamam Ul Haq also score 51 before he was dismissed by Gayle. The Pakistanis had managed to dig themselves out of their early hole, taking the score to 222 for 6.

Younis Kahn played a brilliant innings of 48 from just 53 balls, including 2 fours. He was unlucky to fall to a brilliant catch by Gayle off Corey Collymore just when he looked set to post his half century. Adbul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal then hit quick-fire innings of 20 and 24 not out respectively, taking their side’s final score to 258 for the loss of 8 wickets. Corey Collymore was the best of the West Indian bowlers, picking up a solid 3/40 from his 10.

After failing to chase a sub-200 total in game one, it seemed as though a target of 258 may be too large for the Windies. Chris Gayle, however, had other ideas on the matter as he set about taking control of the chase. The early loss of Xavier Marshall for 7 to Naved-ul-Hasan did not perturb a resilient Gayle who continued his confident innings.

Gayle soon reached the forties with a towering six over long off. But just three balls later, Shabbir Ahmed sent the opener packing, dismissing him for 43 from 45 balls with the score on 67. Ramnaresh Sarwan was then run out for 17 and, before long, was followed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, run out for just 3, leaving the score on 115 for 4.

Meanwhile, Runako Morton had been fighting his way toward a maiden one-day half century. Razzaq and Afridi were thinking themselves unlucky not to have picked up his wicket earlier, umpire Billy Doctrove had turned down several lbw appeals. To his credit, Morton made the most of his opportunities and did in fact reach his 50, but was soon bowled by Afridi for 55 off 98 balls.

Brian Lara’s middle order presence was sorely missed as the home side began to crumble. Dwayne Bravo was picked up by Afridi for nought (163/6). Wavell Hinds then found himself back in the pavilion with only 22 runs beside his name, another victim of Afridi.

With the score on 172 for 7, the game, it seemed, was all but over for the West Indies. Only some late resistance from Courtney Browne, who scored 35 including 2 sixes, gave the home side’s total some respectability. Ian Bradshaw and Powell were but small obstacles for the Pakistani attack and Browne was eventually the last man out with the score on 218. Afridi was by far the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, claiming 4/38 with his leg-spinners.

It was a disappointing end to a match which the struggling Windies had begun so promisingly. The last game, to be once again be played at Gros Islet, St Lucia, will decide wether or not the home side can salvage any pride and gain some form of hope from what has been one of their worst ODI summers ever.

West Indies: 218 (Morton 55, Afridi 4-40)

Pakistan: 258 for 8 (Shoaib 51, Inzamam 51, Younis 48)

Pakistan win by 40 runs and lead the 3-match series 2 – 0

Man of the Match: Shoaib Malik (51)

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