West Indies eked out a two—wicket win over Pakistan in a low—scoring Group B encounter to start their Champions Trophy campaign on a perfect note at the Kennington Oval, here today.
Opting to ball, paceman Kemar Roach and spinner Sunil Narine shared six wickets between them to help West Indies bowl out Pakistan for a paltry 170 in 48 overs.
Pakistan owed their total to skipper Misbah—ul—Haq, who laboured his way to an unbeaten 96 and shared a 91—run stand with opener Nasir Jamshed (50) for the fourth wicket.
While chasing, West Indies made a heavy weather of the target before scampering home with two wickets in hand in 40.4 overs.
West Indies lost two wickets —— Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo —— early during their paltry chase of 171.
While Charles hooked a Mohammad Irfan (3/32) delivery straight to the hands of Wahab Riaz at fine—leg, Bravo edged one to Kamran Akmal behind the stumps off the same bowler an over later.
Thereafter, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels played cautiously to get West Indies’ chase back on track with a 77—ball 63—run third wicket stand.
Gayle seemed to have been bogged down by the impressive Pakistani bowling attack as he scored his 39 off 47 balls balls with the help of four boundaries and one six.
Samuels too did not look convincing and scored his 30 runs off 57 balls and struck three fours in the process.
Both Gayle and Samuels looked uncomfortable against off—spinner Saeed Ajmal (2/38). The bowler finally had the last laugh when he cleaned up Gayle with a doosra to drew curtains on the partnership.
New Man in Ramnaresh Sarwan was did in by a terrific bouncer from Riaz (2/42) in the next over as, in trying to fend the delivery, he only managed to edge one to wicket—keeper Akmal.
Samuels then gave away his wicket after doing all the hardwork. He was stumped by Akmal off a Mohammad Hafeez delivery that slightly drifted away from the batsman after pitching.
But Kieron Pollard (30) and Dwayne Bravo (19) played sensibly from there on, adding 43 runs for the sixth wicket to bring West Indies closer.
However, the going was not easy for Pollard as well as he scored his 30 off 58 balls during which he hit three fours and a straight six over the bowler’s head.
But just when it seemed Pollard and Dwayne Bravo would guide West Indies home, the duo departed in successive overs to give Pakistan a ray of hope.
After scoring 11 off eight balls, Narine gave a simple catch to Akmal off Irfan to sent some shivers in the West Indies’ camp with the Caribbeans still needing six to win.
But it was not to be as Denesh Ramdin (11 not out) and Roach (5 not out) eventually guided West Indies home.
Earlier, Pakistan were bowled out for a paltry 170 in 48 overs due to some disciplined effort from the Caribbean bowlers.
The worst part for Pakistan was that they could not bat out the full quota of 50 overs as Misbah was left stranded.
The skipper faced 127 deliveries in his fighting knock which had eight boundaries including three sixes.
Misbah’s last—wicket stand of 32 with Irfan (2 off 14 balls) lent some respectability to the total.
It was Roach’s (3/28) fury upfront that blew away the Pakistani top order and then their middle crumbled while facing wily spinner Narine (3/34).
The fourth—wicket partnership between Misbah and Jamshed was no less than a boon for Pakistan as it gave their bowlers something to fight for.
Pakistan did not have the best of starts after being sent into bat as they lost their first three wickets inside the 20—run mark as Roach accounted for Imran Farhat, Hafeez and Asad Shafiq in a jiffy.
Farhat edged one to skipper Dwayne Bravo at the slip cordon before Hafeez was caught plumb in front of the wicket.
Shafiq did not help his side’s cause either as he cut a short Roach delivery straight to Rampaul at third man to see Pakistan slumped to 15 for three in 6.1 overs.
Pushed to the wall, Jamshed and Misbah were left to do the resurrection work. The duo played cautiously to get Pakistan back on track.
If not for occasional boundaries, Jamshed and Misbah found it difficult to rotate the strike as West Indies produced a disciplined effort, tightening the screws on Pakistan.
Their innings seemed to be settling but Narine ensured that Pakistan will not have the luxury of having too many batsmen to launch an onslaught in the slog overs.
He scalped Jamshed and Shoiab Malik in space of four balls and added wicket of Akmal (2) to his kitty in his next over, leaving Pakistan reeling at 110 for six.
Misbah now had tail—enders for company and it did not help as Riaz (6), Ajmal (2) and Junaid Khan (0) could not support him.