April 17, 2000

Cable and Wireless ODIs: West Indies Making It A Habit

St. George's - To a cacophony of sounds reverberating from almost every single corner of a packed stadium, the West Indies' resounding resurgence continued here yesterday with another victory over Pakistan.

For eight non-stop hours, the impressive Queen's Park generated noise from sound systems, drums, horns, bells, cymbals, triangles, shangos, trombones and countless other sources.

But it was at its most deafening at 5:17 p.m. when West Indies captain Jimmy Adams calmly accepted the match-winning catch that ended a contest that could have gone either way.

West Indies, defending a total of 248, won by 17 runs, but the recently crowned Sharjah Cup champions were mounting a daring challenge when old warrior Inzamam-ul-Haq and emerging talent Yousaf Youhana were together in a fourth-wicket stand of 123.

There was even more pressure on the West Indies when captain Moin Khan and Abdur Razzaq, two men with enhanced reputations in the shorter form of the game, were adding 42 for the sixth wicket at a worrying rate of a run-a-ball.

It prompted Adams to summon his most potent and effective weapon, Reon King, to try and break the partnership that had taken Pakistan to 200 for five - 49 runs and 42 balls away from their target.

King had only two overs left, but he needed only two balls to tilt the course of the match by removing the dangerous Razzaq after the 20-year-old all-rounder had smashed a run-a-ball 24.

Razzaq, bowled as he charged down the pitch to a full-length ball, was the third wicket for King, who took the Man-Of-The-Match award.

When Moin holed out to Franklyn Rose at long-on in the next over, the match was as good as over.

For the remaining five overs, the 10 000 spectators in the stadium and the few hundreds watching from the hills celebrated in Carnival-like style.

It was the West Indies' sixth successive victory this season, their fourth in the Caribbean's first-ever triangular limited-overs tournament and their second in succession against unpredictable opponents who came to the West Indies in high spirits after winning the recent Sharjah Trophy.

The victories count for nothing in determining the winners of the competition, but the West Indies will have a psychological advantage for the three-match finals beginning on Wednesday at Kensington Oval.

Not for the first time, the quality of the West Indies' fielding was impeccable.

Adams set the example with a low, diving catch at cover which Youhana questioned, and brisk movement in the covers that effected the run-out of

Mohammed Wasim to another contentious de-cision that needed several television replays before a confirmation was given.

Rose was also outstanding in the field with his catch that accounted for Moin and his direct throw that ran out the consistent Inzamam for a workmanlike 69 off 96 balls.

He also enjoyed a good spell of ten overs that cost 36 runs and included the wicket of Youhana for 56.

Sherwin Campbell hit the topscore of 56 for the West Indies, but the most exciting stuff came towards the end from the big-hitting Ricardo Powell, whose unbeaten 50 off only 36 balls caused wild excitement inll the stands among spectators watching only the third international match on the ground.

Three phases

Batting first for the fourth consecutive match in the series, the West Indies innings had three distinct phases.

In the first 15 overs when the field restrictions were in place, Philo Wallace and Sherwin Campbell took advantage of innocuous short balls from Waqar Younis and especially Irfan Fazil to post 61 from the first 15 overs.

Between the 15th and the 35th overs, the runs slowly dried up against Razzaq's accurate and varied medium-pace and Musthaq Ahmed's probing leg-spin and there was a period in which the West Indies went just a shade over ten overs without a boundary.

The arrival of Chris Gayle at the half-way stage of the innings and Powell just ahead of the last 15 overs triggered the dramatic increase in the tempo. The last 15 overs yielded 112 runs, the last ten brought 84 and the final five produced 49.

As they say, it was the happy hour and it was highlighted by selective clean hitting and cat-like running between the wickets, moreso by Powell and Ridley Jacobs, whose 25 off 26 balls was just as valuable as the contributions of Powell and Gayle who made 42 off 49 balls.

Just when Gayle was getting into high gear, he gave a catch to mid-on in the first over of a new spell from Waqar. But for the first time in recent matches, his fellow Jamaican never tried to clear the fielders in the deep until he had assessed the conditions and the pitch.

Powell waited until the 47th over to unleash a tremendous whip off the pads against the previously tidy Razzaq, the ball clearing the mid-wicket fence.

His second six was an even more enjoyable stroke in the final over when he advanced and lifted off-spinner Arshad Khan over extra-cover, a rare shot off such a bowler.