Pride still at stake as Windies break duck
Match FactsMay 5, 2011, Providence
Start time 9.30am (1330GMT)
The Big Picture
The rot has been stopped by West Indies, though it was quite a scramble to get across the line. Thanks to Dwayne Bravo's premeditated six over midwicket in the fourth ODI in Barbados, the Windies did just enough to sneak ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis calculations before the heavens opened two deliveries later. However, had the match gone the full 50-over distance, Pakistan would have been confident of defending their total of 248 for 9, the highest yet recorded in a low-scoring series.
The scoreline now stands at 3-1 instead of 4-0, and though it's not enough to get them back into the series, it is nonetheless a significant crumb of comfort for a team that had not beaten senior Test opposition for the best part of two years. Their eight-wicket victory at Kingston in June 2009 was the last such occasion, so the opportunity to claw the scoreline back to 3-2, with the two-Test series to follow, is not one that ought to be sniffed at.
Pakistan, however, look for the moment to be an enviably settled unit - and given their recent history, that arguably says more about West Indies' current turmoil than anything else, even if their chief selector Mohsin Khan is getting ready to rock their boat ahead of the Test series. The composure shown by Mohammad Hafeez in his second ODI hundred, and by Asad Shafiq in their 153-run stand for the second wicket, set the tone for what should have been a formidable total, until Devendra Bishoo's wiles derailed the latter stages of the innings.
There are clear signs of life in the West Indies squad, with Bishoo's exuberance matched by Lendl Simmons' early onslaught, in which he belted a 36-ball half-century to propel their rain-affected run-chase. But as the recall of Ramnaresh Sarwan demonstrated, not to mention the ongoing issues surrounding Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the changing of the guard in the Caribbean looks set to be a messy and protracted affair. Better times may lie ahead, but one dead-rubber victory can hardly be taken as proof of a new dawn.
(completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies WLLLL
Watch out for...
One of the few positives of West Indies' disappointing World Cup campaign was the emergence of Devendra Bishoo as a genuine wicket-taking legspinner. While he does not give the ball the biggest rip of all time, his composure under fire is matched by an impressive mastery of flight, and his three wickets in the closing stages of Pakistan's innings at Bridgetown were due reward for his aggressive intent. In particular his dismissal of the centurion Mohammad Hafeez was eye-catching - late dip, appreciable turn and the pleasing sight of the middle stump being pegged back.
Mohammad Hafeez waited eight years to record his maiden ODI century, and now two have come along in the space of six months. His classy accumulation and eye for a run-scoring opportunity belie an average that remains stuck in the mid-20s, but at the age of 30, his time -it would appear - has come. When you factor in his invaluable second string as an offspinner, he is a player upon whom Pakistan can rely, especially given the range of mavericks and matchwinners who feature lower down the batting card.
West Indies took a gamble in the fourth match by reducing their bowling options to include the specialist keeper Carlton Baugh at the expense of the allrounder Andre Russell. However, seeing as they got the result they wanted, there seems little reason to veer away from the winning formula. Sarwan, who also returned for that match, will be a major drawcard for his Guyanese home support.
West Indies (possible) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Kirk Edwards, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Devendra Bishoo.
Pakistan chopped and changed their options with the series in the bag, and offered ODI debuts to Usman Salahuddin, who was run out for 5 before he could show his full repertoire, and Tanvir Ahmed, who nabbed a maiden wicket in between being tonked by Simmons and Bravo. Both men are worthy of another look, with Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz having little to prove ahead of the Test series.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq, 5 Hammad Azam, 6 Shahid Afridi (capt), 7 Usman Salahuddin, 8 Mohammad Salman (wk), 8 Tanvir Ahmed, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan.
Pitch and conditions
After a relatively brisk deck in Barbados, the Providence wicket promises to be slower and lower, which may tempt both teams to bulk out their spin options. Matches in Guyana rarely pass without some interference from the weather, so the Duckworth-Lewis charts will be close at hand once again.
Stats and trivia
- Misbah-ul-Haq finally has a series average after being dismissed for 5 at Barbados. Prior to that he had made scores of 73 not out, 43 not out, and 62 not out, for an overall tally of 183 runs in four innings.
- This will be the 11th ODI at the Providence stadium, although West Indies have only featured in five of the previous ten, and won just twice, against England in 2009 and Zimbabwe in 2010.
- Pakistan have never won more than three matches in a one-day series against West Indies
"We needed this win. It's been a while."
Darren Sammy acknowledges the recent scarcity of West Indian victories.
"The way Mohammad Hafeez played on a difficult pitch, and Asad Shafiq, I think we should have got 270-275. We missed that chance, and didn't bat that well in the end."
Shahid Afridi rues the missed opportunities in Pakistan's innings.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo