Victory hides many weaknesses. Pakistan won the first ODI because of Shahid Afridi’s outstanding performance that covered many faults of the team. But today’s game of the five-match OSI series proved that it was a one-off incident. The hosts won by 37 runs, levelling the series 1-1.

[caption id="attachment_1896" align="alignright" width="300"]Sunil Narine took four wickets for West Indies (Photo: WICB) Sunil Narine took four wickets for West Indies (Photo: WICB)[/caption]

The team lost mainly because of the batsmen, once again. Pakistan’s start was quite slow against the backdrop of a 233-run target. The required run rate was touching five in the initial 10 overs. And when they tried to put their bats in motion, wicket started falling successively. Ahmed Shehzad was caught behind in the 11th over when the total was just 37. The performance of Mohammad Hafeez, who still owes a good innings to fans, was once again disappointing. He could score only 20 runs.

Nasir Jamshed was enjoying a lucky day on the other end as he got four chances in his innings. But still he made 54 runs on 93 balls. Had there been other youngster, he could have scored a century. But Jamshed not only failed to speed up his strike rate but lost his wicket at a crucial stage, leaving the team in tatters.

The biggest blow for Pakistan came in the 29th over when Misbah-ul-Haq was sent to pavilion. Misbah belongs to that school of thought according to which being dismissed is a bigger sin than not scoring runs. But the way he was clean bowled by Darren Sammy didn’t suit him. When he returned to the dressing room after scoring just 17 off 41, the team was completely relying on young players. But Asad Shafiq and Jamshed lost back-to-back wickets. Shahid Afridi offered his wicket to the opponents in the last over of the powerplay to confirm Pakistan’s failure. Despite having failed to hit Sunil Narine’s two balls, he tried the third one. Result? Wicket-keeper’s swiftness and stump.

Before entering the last 10 overs, Pakistan had lost 6 wickets on 151, with Umar Akmal left as the only genuine batsman. West Indies started hammering the last nails in Pakistan’s coffin, and even a glimmer of hope faded away with Umar’s dismissal in the 48th over. He scored 50 off 46, hitting five fours and one six. Pakistan were all-out on 195 with 13 balls left.

Narine was the key bowler for the hosts. He gave only 26 runs in 10 overs, taking four crucial wickets. Dwyane Bravo took two, whereas Kemar Roach, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels took one wicket apiece.

Although West Indies won the match, the bane of their performance was the fielding. If they did not improve in this department, they would be in trouble in the upcoming matches.

Earlier, the hosts’ start was not that good either as they lost Chris Gayle to Mohammad Irfan in the first over. However, Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo added 79 runs in the second wicket, providing a strong base to the team, while also recovering Gayle’s loss.

Pakistan tried to limit West Indies to a low score by dismissing Samuels and Lendl Simmons, but a 70-run partnership between skipper Dwayne Bravo and Pollard ruined the tourists’ plans. Pollard lost his wicket to Asad Ali, making 30 off 27 and Bravo remained unbeaten with 43 off 52. This helped West Indies set a 233-run target.

Pakistani bowlers gave as much in extras as their batsmen failed to make to claim victory. With 21 wides and one no-ball, the team’s extras amounted to 38.

Narine was given the man-of-the-match award.

Both teams will play the third one-dayer on July 19 at Gros Islet.
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