Friday August 12, 2022

West Indies look to avoid whitewash against Pakistan

June 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan aim at whitewashing West Indies in the three-match ICC Cricket World Cup Super League series, eyeing another all-round display at the Multan Stadium Sunday.

A convincing 120 runs win in the series decider on Friday has made Pakistan an overwhelming favourite to make it three in a row. On the other hand, West Indies batting would have to cope with Pakistan spin in order to achieve a consolation win.

Pakistan have already jumped to No 4 on the ICC League table which is the position to qualify directly for the next year's ODI World Cup to be staged in India.

From 14 outings, Pakistan have so far gathered 80 points. The Green-shirts are now looking to make the points to reach 90 Sunday under the blistering Multan heat that has already made things tough for the opposing sides.

Chasing an achievable score of 276 on Friday, the tourists never looked at ease against the spin duo of Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan. After spending 50 overs on the field amid 40 C temperature and above, West Indies batsmen were seen exhausted and dehydrated. To make things worse, Nawaz and Shadab both started spinning the ball appreciably to restrict the tourists to 155.

“I thought we were 20 runs short. But once our bowlers started creating trouble for the WI batsmen, I knew well that target was too stiff for them. At the end even 276 runs target looked too daunting for the hapless tourists,” Babar Azam said in his post-match conference Friday.

He hoped to enter the third ODI with the same vein. “We will now go all out for a clean sweep on Sunday. A repeat of performance on Sunday would help us achieve that,” Babar said.

Toss will again be crucial on Sunday as the team winning it most likely to go to bat first. The key bowlers of the team batting first would stay fresh and spinners will be having more purchase from the wicket later in the evening.

“We bowled well Friday but could not hang on there to chase a reachable target. We won the first half and were very much in the game till the time we started losing wickets regularly,” ace West Indies spinner Akeal Hosein, said following a one-sided second ODI.

“Our batsmen did not spend time in the middle that was required. Instead of staying at the wicket and taking singles and doubles, they went after the bowling which made the job easier for the host nation. We should have gone deep into the innings instead of getting bowled out with more than 17 overs to spare,” Akeal said, who looked threatening throughout his 10 overs spell that fetched him 3 for 52.

The left arm-spinner said that they missed an opportunity that could have made the series 1-1. “We did a great job to restrict Pakistan to under 300, yet we could not cash in on the opportunity.”

Man of the Match award winner Nawaz was excited to get his team through. “I just kept pursuing the basics and that helped me in keeping WI batsmen under check,” he said.

Even in an overwhelming victory Friday, Pakistan showed some weaknesses that could well prove decisive on any other day. Fakhar Zaman’s continuous failure to play a strong knock, a suspect middle-order and fifth bowler’s economy rate could well create windows for the opposition to exploit.

Though Hasan Ali’s replacement Mohammad Wasim Jr picked up three wickets, he conceded too many runs. On Friday he gave away 34 runs of 4.2 overs-an economy rate that even a part-timer would never feel proud of.