A late assault by Dwayne Bravo sparked life into a lethargic West Indies effort as the home team totalled 242 for seven batting first against Pakistan in the fifth and final ODI at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia on Wednesday.
Under pressure to deliver for a team seeking victory to square the series, the captain smashed 48 off just 27 deliveries with five fours and three sixes, dominating a 53-run seventh-wicket partnership with former skipper Darren Sammy, who belted his way to an unbeaten 29 off 18 balls.
Pakistan, assured of maintaining its unbeaten run in ODI series in the Caribbean since 1988, was in control through most of the innings through tight, disciplined bowling with pacers Junaid Khan (three for 48) and Mohammad Irfan (two for 34) leading the effort until Bravo cut loose.
Such was the transformation that after crawling to 159 for five in the 42nd over, 83 runs were hammered off the remaining deliveries to at least give the West Indies a fighting chance of restricting the Pakistani batsmen in conditions that appear tailormade for batting on a hot, steamy afternoon.
Marlon Samuels (45) and Johnson Charles (43) held the home side’s innings together, although at a considerably slower pace, before the arrival of the cavalier captain. Both fought to dominate the admirable Pakistan bowling effort and perished when seeking to press on the accelerator.
In stark contrast, the usually destructive Chris Gayle was again a mere shadow of his plundering best, labouring to 21 off 34 balls batting for the second consecutive match in the middle order. His replacement at the top, Devon Smith, failed yet again, falling victim to an aggressive Junaid, who followed up with the wicket of Darren Bravo to have the West Indies faltering in the early exchanges.
Saeed Ajmal removed Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons in the final rush for runs, but the wily spinner conceded 57 runs off his ten overs. — AFP