Zulfiqar Babar completed a dream debut by striking the final ball of the match for six to give Pakistan a two-wicket victory over the West Indies in the first Twenty 20 international at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Saturday.
Having taken three wickets for 23 runs with his left-arm spinners in helping to restrict the world champion to 152 for seven, the 34-year-old newcomer then made the winning hit off Marlon Samuels with the scores level to hand the home side its first defeat in this form of the game since it lifted the world title last October in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan has the chance to displace the West Indies in second spot in the international rankings with a win in the second and final match.
Four hundred sixes
Shahid Afridi, who became the first player to hit 400 sixes in an international career during his innings, was named man-of-the-match for his 46 off 27 balls, but even he conceded that Zulfiqar was the man of the moment.
West Indies was rocked onto the back foot at 42 for four after choosing to bat first, Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez taking the critical wickets of openers Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle, before Zulfiqar made an immediate impact by bowling Lendl Simmons in his first over.
He then added the scalps of Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, but not before Bravo and Kieron Pollard put on 56 for the fifth wicket.
“I was really happy to see the desire to win from the players, especially the newcomers in the side,” said a relieved Hafeez.
“It was always going to be tough to get a target like that on this pitch, but I was really impressed with the way Umar Amin played and then Afridi brought it home.”
Pollard finished unbeaten on 49 for the West Indies but was over-shadowed by skipper Darren Sammy who smashed 30 off just 14 balls and dominated a 53-run sixth-wicket stand. — AFP