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The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill
April 23, 2011
Pakistan 222 for 2 (Misbah 73*, Shafiq 61*, Hafeez 54, Bishoo 2-48) beat West Indies 221 for 6 (Bravo 67, Sammy 29*, Ajmal 1-24, Hafeez 1-36) by 8 wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan strolled to victory in the first one-day international against West Indies at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq all contributing half-centuries as West Indies' score of 221 for 6 was overhauled with more than eight overs to spare.
It appeared West Indies had a fighting chance of continuing the success of the opening Twenty20 of the tour after Darren Bravo's 67 helped them to a workable total and legspinner Devendra Bishoo struck twice in quick succession to reduce Pakistan to 88 for 2. Bishoo had precious little support from the rest of the bowling attack, however, and Misbah and Shafiq put together an unbroken partnership of 134 for the third wicket to steer Pakistan home.
This match had been billed as a chance for West Indies to get revenge for their World Cup humiliation by Pakistan, but in the end it was more like a replay. Even the Man of the Match, Hafeez, was the same and West Indies' greatest errors stemmed from their misreading of the pitch for today's game - an unforgivable error as they should have known what to expect after the Twenty20, which was also played at Gros Islet.
It had been thought the pitch would be slow, and it was, but it also offered turn and bounce to the spinners. Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez bowled a combined 30 overs for just 100 runs, picking up two wickets, but Bishoo was the only slow bowler in an unbalanced seam-heavy attack as Devon Smith bowled two ineffectual overs of offspin and Marlon Samuel's respectable offerings weren't called upon.
West Indies were left chasing the game almost from the start as, reprising his World Cup role, Hafeez was brought on early and soon dealt with Smith while Ajmal toyed with Lendl Simmons before sending down a doosra that the batsman feathered through to the keeper to give a sluggish start an even more sombre tone.
Samuels maintained his trademark ice cool composure and exhibited his best poker face but fell to some indecisive running and it was left to Darren Bravo and Kirk Edwards to get an increasingly rudderless innings back on track. They gritted out a fourth-wicket partnership worth 59, replete with snappy singles and dinks into the outfield, that carried West Indies to 135 before Edwards tried to break the shackles with a heave into the deep that could only get as far as Junaid Khan at deep midwicket.
That brought Darren's half-brother Dwayne to the crease, and it was in his company that he reached a boundary-free half-century from 97 balls. The brothers Bravo continued to push the ones and twos wherever possible, and when the Batting Powerplay was called for at the start of the 43rd over Darren took it as his cue to take the attack to Pakistan's seamers.
With much of the boundary unprotected, Dwayne Bravo attempted to follow Darren's lead but his charge came to a premature end when he chipped a Riaz full toss towards mid-off, where Afridi skipped to his right and bent low to hold the catch inches from the turf.
Sammy's walk to the crease was accompanied by a warm reception from a middling crowd - St Lucia being his home island - but they were soon hushed into silence by another piece of inept running. Bravo dug a free hit towards deep mid-off and Sammy cajoled him into a second run that was never there, the result being that the set batsman was run out for 67 just as he began to accelerate and West Indies faced the final five overs of the innings with two brand new batsmen at the crease.
While Ajmal continued to weave mysteries around the batsmen until the very end, Sammy took the dismissal in his stride and responded with a flurry of boundaries - including a memorably monstrous six that landed on the roof of the stands on the western side of the ground - and together with an energetic Carlton Baugh boosted West Indies' total at the death.
It was soon made to look nowhere near enough, however, as Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad put on an untroubled 68 for the first wicket at close to a-run-a-ball before Bishoo's intervention. Hafeez had set about Pakistan's chase with alacrity from the start, displacing a silken touch on both sides of the wicket as he raced to 20 from just 10 balls without a slog in sight and taking full advantage as a swirling top-edge evaded Kemar Roach, running in from long leg.
After a slow start his opening partner, Shehzad, started to catch up with three classy boundaries from one Roach over and with Pakistan soon racing along at better than a-run-a-ball West Indies began to wilt visibly in the field.
Bishoo's introduction quickly changed that, however, as he gave away just one run from his first nine deliveries and then lured Shehzad forward with a looping, dipping legbreak that fizzed past the outside edge for wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh to complete a smart stumping with the batsman's back foot in the air. Hafeez went to his fifty with a slog sweep over deep backward square off Bishoo, but was then undone by what appeared to be a wrong 'un as, cramped for room, he clipped straight to a diving short midwicket.
The wickets reduced Pakistan to 88 for 2 and brought West Indies back into the game, but with the seam attack unable to contain the batsmen and spin support for Bishoo unavailable Misbah and Shafiq soon settled. Both played with increasingly imperious confidence, Misbah raising a 63-ball fifty in the 35th over and Shafiq following suit four overs later. West Indies' demise thereafter was swift, and they will have to improve in all areas if they are to square the series in the second match at the same ground on Monday.
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Liam Brickhill
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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