West Indies v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Barbados April 28, 2011

Misbah stays calm to secure series victory


Pakistan 177 for 7 (Misbah 62*, Rampaul 4-32, Bishoo 3-42) beat West Indies 171 (Simmons 51, Ajmal 3-29, Wahab 3-38)

Pakistan overcame a blistering spell from Ravi Rampaul and some late panic against the impressive Devendra Bishoo to secure the series against West Indies with a three-wicket victory in Barbados. The hosts had collapsed feebly once again, but Pakistan were jolted by Rampaul's four strikes and needed the calm head of Misbah-ul-Haq, who remained cool as Bishoo threatened to turn the game again.

It became a more compelling contest than looked likely during another insipid batting display from West Indies. Then Pakistan again appeared to be cruising at 127 for 4 after a composed stand between Misbah and Hammad Azam. However, Bishoo benefited from some poor umpiring and hot-headed strokes to leave them needing 24 when Wahab Riaz joined Misbah, but there were eventually 29 balls to spare as Wahab launched two sixes in four deliveries to hurry a conclusion.

Misbah was roundly criticised for Pakistan's World Cup semi-final exit against India when his poorly-paced innings proved costly, but in this series he has provided vital ballast in an inexperienced order. Without him here, Pakistan would have lost. This was his third unbeaten score to secure a run chase - although he could have been stumped on 20 if part-time keeper Lendl Simmons had gloved the ball - and showed a technique, and composure, that was lacking among some of his team-mates.

Despite the early clatter of wickets the required rate was never an issue for Pakistan, which allowed Misbah to bed in and weather the tough passages while Rampaul was in action. This tour started on the slow, low pitch in St Lucia, where the ball barely got above knee height, but this Kensington Oval surface had far more pace and carry for the quick bowlers who were willing to bend their backs.

Ahmed Shehzad, fresh from his hundred three days ago, tried to pull Rampaul's first delivery and top-edged to a back-tracking Simmons and next delivery Asad Shafiq edged to second slip; suddenly the West Indian fans started to find their voice. Mohammad Hafeez was the next to fall to another top-edged pull, which was well taken by Bishoo, running towards deep square-leg, to leave the visitors 12 for 3.

Misbah's natural game is always to cut out risk and bat time; for Umar Akmal it is the opposite and he took the aggressive route. He struck five boundaries in a 27-ball stay before being undone by a wonderful delivery that bounced and shaved the glove as he tried to sway out of the line.

However, from there West Indies couldn't force another breakthrough as Misbah continued to be a steadying presence. Azam, in his first ODI innings, showed composure and pulled a free hit from Andre Russell for six. He also did well to leave the crease so swiftly after Asoka de Silva failed to spot a huge inside edge when he gave an lbw decision in Bishoo's favour - there is no DRS in this series.

Shahid Afridi's batting has disintegrated and, after two boundaries, it was predictable when he attempted a slog over midwicket. Mohammad Salman then showed his inexperience by not running hard when he thought the ball would reach the boundary and was bowled by a flipper that he shouldn't have been facing. Fortunately for Salman it didn't cost the match.

But while West Indies showed spirit in the field their innings followed a depressingly familiar pattern as they lost 8 for 53 after Simmons and Darren Bravo had formed a solid platform with an 86-run stand. Once they were separated, the innings almost came to a stand-still and soon fell in a heap amid a mixture of prods, pokes and hopeless slogs.

Marlon Samuels, who is struggling to adjust back to international cricket, was again culpable in the loss of momentum as he took 35 balls over his 18, while Kirk Edwards laboured until being run out by a direct hit from backward point. Aside from Simmons, and to a lesser extent Darren Bravo, there is precious little confidence in West Indies' line up and it showed as the innings faded away with Wahab taking two in three balls.

Devon Smith's horror trot against Hafeez's offspin had continued when he was trapped lbw first ball, the third time in a row he had fallen in such fashion. After reaching fifty from 61 balls Simmons had time to double his score, but drove a fraction too early and offered a low chance to Saeed Ajmal who took it well in his follow through.

The onus was on Darren Bravo not to follow a similar path of giving away a useful innings, however, having struggled to increase the tempo, he then played across a full ball from Hafeez as the stall kicked in. Any hopes of pushing past 200 vanished in the space of three balls from Wahab as he had both Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo caught at long on. A little bit of sensible batting and this could have been West Indies' match.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tom on May 1, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    As last two one day games are now just a practice games for Pakistan, They should concentrate on test side. Pakistan has never won a test series in West indies and this is a real opportunity for them. The way they batted in the last one day it clearly visible that they will have lot of problems against quality bowlers in the longer format. Younis khan is a must for the test side but I still think Muhammad yousuf can give a lot to the test side. The performance of Misbah shows that a these experience players are an asset to the team. Yousuf is of the same age as Misbah and he has a much better Test record than most other players. He still has few years left in him. Hafiz,Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Yousuf and Umer are ideal choices for a test format. PCB should not do the mistake like WICB did and should select the best team for the Test.

  • Dummy4 on April 30, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    i was a big fan of WI for a long time infact I love their style and attitude in the feild but very sorry to say that the team which has produced legends now can not even provide a club level team :(... I wish they can recover at their soonest and we will see the same stylish cricketers very soon.

  • mohaamed on April 30, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    well don boys all tems play home and away you just play outside and still you win i think pakistani team beater than all othear 9 teams india got money IPL england got county cricket and money AUS got good team

  • Dummy4 on April 30, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    when will we west indians start winning again I am sick and tired of loosing and besides i always see opportunities to win but we never win. Good grief!!!

  • Roneil on April 29, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    again.......the wicb cannot be serious about this team......on a lighter note bishoo looks a very bright prospect.........if misbah batted like this at WC pak might be world champs rite now....LOLOL

  • a on April 29, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin. I don't understand why you and others expect Afridi to bat and make runs for Pak. Be realistic and try to understand that he can't bat. He is a only middle overs bowler. He goes and tries to slog and if he is lucky then get some boundries (take those as PLUS). If he'll try to play like batsmen he will not even last 1 ball. I reckon he should come at number 8. Then IF he connects then pak can win in tense games. Because having him at number 6 or 7 is doing no good to team at all. Great to see Hammad doing fabulous with bat. Maybe we need to drop Keeper Salman and use Umer Akmal as Keeper. This way you can add 1 bowler, batsmen or all rounder.

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2011, 20:27 GMT

    GREAT VICTORY BY GREAT TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    Time after time Afridi is having a hard time getting to double figures as a batsman . Misbah is doing what he should do as a captain when the team is in trouble ,like this 3 rd ODI, 2 nd ODI . He should avail the years he has left, use his God gifted batting prowess to bring up his batting average. He is trailing behind players with less batting capability. MY advice: He can only do it by giving up captaincy voluntarily ,just like Imran Khan did when he was at his peak... with grace.

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    Now pakistan should give some chance to Sadaf , tanvir and Salahuddin

  • Zia on April 29, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    @umermuteeb. You should not be asking what happened to Misbah in the WC semi. You should ask what happened to all the others including Afridi when the team needed him. Misbah scored the highest and if he had support he would have played at a faster pace. But when you have others throwing away their wickets you don't have a choice but to hunker down. Think about it. If Misbah had lost his wicket earlier we would not have made 200, sad to say against Indian bowling.

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