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November 16, 2008
Younis Khan and Iftikhar Anjum overcame poor starts to give their side yet another series whitewash. While Younis played out an initial difficult spell against the swinging ball to score a century, Anjum got over a Chris Gayle assault to pick up four wickets in four overs and seal Pakistan's 31-run win. Pakistan had ODI clean sweeps against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe earlier in the year, but captain Shoaib Malik will value this win - Pakistan's first whitewash against major opposition since 2005 - much more.
Daren Powell and Jerome Taylor troubled Younis and Khurram Manzoor with swing as well as seam movement early in the game. Though tied down, Younis was never uncomfortable. West Indies' poor fielding was what allowed him and Manzoor to break free. Manzoor was dropped twice on his way to 30 and he added 85 with Younis before he was caught off Gayle. Manzoor had offered unsure support and Younis got the run-rate going only when Misbah-ul-Haq joined him at the crease. Younis pushed for twos and threes and hit a six off Baker during the Powerplay taken by Pakistan. Misbah hit a single boundary - a six to long-on off Nikita Miller - in the 103-run partnership.
West Indies' start was not very different from Pakistan's. They were crawling along at less than three an over when Sewnarine Chattergoon edged Sohail Tanvir to slip in the seventh over. With Sarwan's entry at that point, it seemed a cloud had passed over, with the ball finally making it through the gaps. Along with Chris Gayle, he targeted Anjum and Sohail Tanvir, who struggled with their lengths. Gayle hit the boundaries while Sarwan was content to rotate the strike.
Pakistan lost a grip over the game when the spinners came on. Sarwan and Gayle treated the two spinners differently; they played Saeed Ajmal cautiously while attacking Shoaib Malik. All the runs Ajmal dried up with his accurate line, Malik leaked with his poor length. West Indies added 61 runs between overs 10 and 20 and Gayle reached his half-century immediately after that with a six over long-on off Malik. While Ajmal gave away 13 runs in his first five overs, Malik conceded 29 in his three. He was replaced by Shahid Afridi, who fared as badly as his captain.
Though Ajmal bowled all his overs in one spell, he could not give Pakistan the much-needed breakthrough. Malik threw the ball back to Anjum and was immediately rewarded with three wickets in two overs. Sarwan misread the line to be bowled for 62, Shivnarine Chanderpaul popped a catch to deep midwicket and Xavier Marshall played on to his stumps.
Afridi had changed ends by then and he bowled a couple of quiet overs. But Gayle hit him for a third six which eased the pressure a bit. Anjum, though, was not finished. He bowled a short one at the start of his seventh over and Shawn Findlay, who edged while trying to pull, was caught at mid-on. Pakistan would have sensed the clean sweep when Afridi dismissed Brendan Nash for 1. Gayle called for the batting Powerplay immediately after that - from overs 41 to 45 - and went on the offensive. West Indies scored 39 runs in the period - including 19 off an Anjum over - but more importantly lost Gayle and consequently the match.
Although Sarwan and Gayle's partnership added 151 runs, they received virtually no support from the other batsmen. The next highest score in the innings was Taylor's 17. Pakistan will leave Abu Dhabi on a high with three wins under their belt ahead of the big series against India in January. For West Indies, it's time for some more introspection before they head out to New Zealand in December.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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