West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Providence July 15, 2013

Brittle batting worries both teams


Match facts

Tuesday, July 16
Start time 0900 (1300 GMT)

Big Picture

"Another wicket" read a placard in the stands at Providence on Sunday. The message might have been banal, but the fan got what he asked for regularly in the first ODI as the batting frailties of the two teams were once again exposed. In mitigation, the track aided both the spinners and the quicks, and Misbah-ul-Haq went on to call it one of the toughest he has ever played on.

Still, in Pakistan's last 10 ODIs, only once has the score touched 100 with less than three wickets down, and that one time came against lightweights Ireland. Pakistan fielded a new-look batting order in the first ODI but the scorecard still had an all-too-familiar look midway through the innings.

West Indies have faced similar problems, and it is only the home series against Zimbabwe that provides some respectability to the stats of several batsmen. All the big names, so sought after in Twenty20 leagues around the world, have floundered in ODIs this year - not one among Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have averaged even 25 in 2013. What's more, the only batsman they have in the squad to replace someone in the XI is Devon Smith, who has two ducks in his only ODIs in the past fortnight.

More than any careful innings construction over 50 overs, West Indies seem to hope for one of their outrageously talented batsmen to pull off a special performance, like the returning Shahid Afridi did for Pakistan in the first match. The need for a stabiliser in the midst of the array of volatile hitters remains pressing, but the batsman to fill that role remains elusive. Tuesday's game will be played on the same track as Sunday's, which means the batsmen are set for another difficult day.

Unlike the past couple of weeks in the Caribbean, though, the forecast is for a mostly sunny day on Tuesday. Another change from the first game is that the DRS is expected to be in place, with Hawk-Eye and Ultramotion.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed matches)
West Indies LLLWW
Pakistan WLLLW

In the spotlight

Shahid Afridi turned in one of the great one-day performances in his comeback game on Sunday, the sort of magical effort hardly any other player can conjure. His loyal and vocal fans are quick to highlight these peaks, but there are a equal number of doubters who point to Afridi's infuriating inconsistency. Expecting steady reliability from Afridi is unfair, but the time has come for him to show that these crests won't be followed by extended troughs.

Sunil Narine is the world's top-ranked ODI bowler. Yet, in his previous two ODIs, he hasn't been anywhere near bowling his full quota of overs. Against Pakistan, on a track with plenty of juice in it, he was taken apart by Afridi, and was used for only three overs. Just three overs from a specialist bowler? Time to bring back some of that early mystery which brought him such success.

Team news

Pakistan made a raft of changes to their side before the first ODI, so it is unlikely they will shuffle the side much ahead of this game. Fast bowler Junaid Khan and batsman Umar Amin are two players who will be hoping to get a look-in.

Pakistan: (probable) 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Umar Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Asad Ali, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Irfan

It may have been a humiliating defeat for West Indies on Sunday, but they don't have too many options in the squad.

West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Lendl Simmons, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Kemar Roach/Tino Best, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Jason Holder

Stats and trivia

  • Shahid Afridi now has 30 ODI Man-of-the-Match awards, equal with Aravinda de Silva and Brian Lara*. If he gets two more, the only players ahead of him will be Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya
  • West Indies are Misbah-ul-Haq's favourite opposition - he averages 79.33 against them in 11 ODIs
  • In bilateral series between Pakistan and West Indies, no team which won the first ODI has lost the series

July 15 6.30pm GMT This stat has now been corrected

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rizwan on July 16, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    don't read too much into Afridi's just one game boom boom. His past 16 years of consistently inconsistent and mostly flopped bating can't be washed over by just one match winning inning. What we really need is stability and realibility; the two qualities Afridi was born without.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    he had an amazing extended run in bowling from 09-'11.... he was also pak's top scorer in 2010 and 2011....

    the inconsistency bit is related only to his batting (which he stopped concntrating on since '09 ....if not even earlier during Woolmer's days)

    and his bowling been out of sorts before the last match...

  • ESPN on July 16, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    I think it's better for haffez to takes some rest and give chance to aris shohil and some other who's inform and show some thing good which is better for Pakistan team....!

  • Android on July 16, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I only wish Misbah-ul-haq is out of Pakistan squad. He doesn't play like captains.

  • Android on July 16, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    umar akmal should be given a consistent run at number 3.

  • Wahab on July 16, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal should make runs today and Junaid should be given a chance.

  • SEETHARAM on July 16, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Surprised that Dwayne Smith - a terrific batsman, is not in the West Indies team. Hope he is not injured

  • Muhammad on July 16, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    Welldone Pakistan in the first ODI but this happens only due to the brilient performance of Afidi. Pakistan should also work on the top order inpite of win... I think Pak should open with Ahmad and Hafeez and give chance to Haris Sohail on account of Jamshaid as Jamshaid, i think can not play for years for Pakistan due to his fitness. So, we should give chance to the youngster. Asad shafiq should be the permanent member at No. 3.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    a decision match today if afridi show his consistency then definitely he can through out hafeez from next series and abdul razzaq will be ist choice.i wish afridi show solidity and determination in this match which is going to play today

  • Android on July 16, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Shahid Aafridi is no god. Thats for sure. He has had his fair share ups and downs. But he is the only player in the history of the game to hold more records than anyone else, including getting a 50 and 5 wickets in the same match 3 times. Had it been any other player yes agreed would have been dropped like a hot potato by the fans. But its a fact...Shahid Khan Aafridi is the one player in the Pakistani side who is looked up to by players and fans the most. He might be a gamble....but be it his day...he is a one man demolition squad in himself. Its a fact.