April 18, 2000

West Indies score 17-run victory over Pakistan

St George's (Grenada), April 17: Pakistan made a valiant attempt to reach a difficult target of 249 but failed by 17 runs to beat West Indies in the last preliminary round fixture of the triangular series at the Queen's Park Stadium here on Sunday.

Pakistan were all out for 231 in 48.1 overs as West Indies finished the league rounds with four victories in as many matches. The defeat, however, does not affect Pakistan's position in the series as they had already booked their place n the best-of-three finals against the West Indies. The finals get underway from Wednesday at Bridgetown, followed by two more ties in Port-of-Spain next Saturday and, if required, Sunday.

Pakistan will have to perform a lot better with the bat than they have done so far. There seems to be an eternal weakness in their batting approach and unless they are able to apply themselves with much more purpose and determination they may struggle against the West Indian bowling which has suddenly started to show its old dominance. Reon King, Franklyn Rose and Nixon McLean are looking quite dangerous and with Curtly Ambrose coming to join them in the finals things could be even more formidable for Pakistan.

King picked up three wickets for 38 on Sunday, followed by McLean two for 47 and off-spinner Nehemiah Perry two for 54. Pakistan, having lost three for 24, were well served by Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana, who between them put on a sizeable stand of 123 for the fourth wicket, to offer some hope. Inzamam made 69 off 95 balls with five fours while Youhana hit 56 off 77 balls with three boundaries.

Imran Nazir lost his wicket to King while going for a big hit after he had striking the bowler for a huge six. Mohammad Wasim, playing for the first time on the tour, was run out after being sent back by Wajahatuallh Wasti without scoring. Wasti soon followed when King yorked him for 10. That made Pakistan 24 for three in the 9th over.

Inzamam and Youhana then salvaged the innings with a mixture of sensible and purposeful batting. It looked rosy for Pakistan as long as they were together. But the stand was broken when Inzamam failed to reach his crease after stroking the ball into the covers. Rose, in his follow through, picked up the ball and hit the stumps with Inzamam stranded. Youhana reached his fifty with three fours off 71 balls but minutes later he drove uppishly and was brilliantly held by a diving Jimmy Adams for 56.

At 162 for five in the 37th over, the run rate had already crept over seven runs an over. Abdur Razzaq and skipper Moin Khan put on 38 for the sixth wicket in an enterprising batting display but it was all in vain as the wickets kept falling. Razzaq (24) was bowled by Man-of-the-Match Reon King 24 and Moin's resistance ended when he lobbed one in the air off Perry to Rose at long-on in the 44th over. Pakistan lost their last six wickets for 84 runs in 13.4 overs.

Earlier, West Indies made 248 for six after Jimmy Adams won the toss. Opener Sherwin Campbell contributed 56 off 89 balls with five fours and one six, Wavell Hinds 24 and Chris Gayle 42 off 49 balls. But the real cameo was provided in the last ten overs when Ricardo Powell and Ridley Jacobs put on 62 for the sixth wicket in 50 balls to accelerate the run rate to over five an over after West Indies looked like struggling for runs at 170 for five in the 41st over.

Powell bludgeoned 50 off only 36 balls with two sixes and a four. In the last ten overs Pakistani bowlers conceded 84 runs.Young Irfan Fazil, who was included in the place of Wasim Akram, was unable to control his line and length in an effort to bowl quicker on a slow track. In his first three overs, Irfan gave away 24 runs.

Pakistan also made two other changes, opting for Wajahatullah Wasti and Mohammad Wasim instead of Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan.