West Indies v Pakistan, 4th ODI, St Lucia July 20, 2013

Top-order worries remain for both teams

Match facts

Sunday, July 21, 2013
Start time 0900 local (1830 GMT)

Big Picture

Attribute it to the impact of Twenty20 if you may, but with the recent trend in one-dayers, even a cushion of 15 runs to defend off the final over may not be enough for fielding sides to feel safe. Ask Pakistan. In the last two months, they have choked while defending the exact number, first against Ireland and yesterday against West Indies. Both ended in ties. More recently, Sri Lanka too cracked under pressure against last-minute specialist MS Dhoni, the only difference being they conceded the match and the tri-series trophy to India. Such is the standard of death bowling these days that it is possible for Nos 9 and 11 to finish off improbable chases.

Friday's game was Pakistan's to lose with West Indies needing 39 off the last three with two wickets remaining. A combination of poor field placings and equally poor bowling cost them. Even with 15 to defend off six, Pakistan were better off saving boundaries than cutting off singles. Wahab Riaz bowled length instead of firing in yorkers, that Junaid Khan did so effectively. One of the commentators suggested that Mohammad Hafeez would have been a better choice.

Despite the choke, Pakistan had positives to draw from the game, most notably their fielding. Excluding a couple of blunders that cost boundaries - a misfield from Shahid Afridi at the start of the chase and Riaz moving the wrong way at long-on during the climax - the commitment was pleasing. Ahmed Shehzad and Hafeez took a couple of sharp catches and the number of sliding stops inches from the rope only made West Indies' task harder. In the batting, Umar Akmal and Riaz played positively in the slog overs to take 52 off the last 4.2 overs. Misbah-ul-Haq laid the platform with 75, but it was another laborious knock that consumed too many balls.

One thing the two sides have in common is an undependable top order. A spectator held a placard asking for Chris Gayle to be demoted down the order, given his lackluster form. Gayle has been struggling against two new balls and a quality seam attack, so it may not be a bad idea for him to swap places with an in-form Lendl Simmons. West Indies have also put more pressure on themselves by not rotating the strike enough. Pakistan don't really have a weak fifth bowler, so the batsmen can't expect too many boundary balls. As the captain Dwayne Bravo said after the match, the tie was not a satisfactory result for the hosts because the batsmen had no business leaving the dirty work to the tailenders.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed matches)
West Indies TWLLL
Pakistan TLWLL

In the spotlight

A glance at the scorecard shows that Marlon Samuels' 46 was the second-highest score of the match. A closer look reveals an unpalatable strike rate of 43.39, that of a painful 106-ball stint that really slowed West Indies down. He hasn't been himself in these three matches, facing 246 balls for 92 runs. Something's been bothering him. It could be the nature of the pitches or a quality bowling attack, or both. West Indies might still place their faith in him to rediscover his touch, but will the short turnaround time between matches be enough?

Pakistan experimented with a one-dimensional left-arm seam attack and among the three, Mohammad Irfan was the most probing, with his steep bounce and angle that made the likes of Gayle and Samuels think twice about going for their shots. He has the pace as well to go with those attributes, making him a handful in the bowler-friendly conditions.

Team news

The teams could go in with unchanged line-ups.

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, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Jason Holder

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

Stats and trivia

  • Kieron Pollard has six ducks in 2013. The record-holder for the most ducks in a calendar year is Herschelle Gibbs, who had eight in 2002
  • Misbah-ul-Haq is currently the leading run-scorer in 2013 with 692 runs at 53.23
  • Pakistan and West Indies have been involved in three tied one-dayers, the first two coming in Lahore and Guyana
  • Since making a comeback in September 2010, Mohammad Hafeez has played 125 consecutive internationals for Pakistan


"At this level, the number of dot balls in our innings was unacceptable. We need to come up with a plan to cut down on that, go back to the drawing board."
Dwayne Bravo, on what West Indies need to work on

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on July 21, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Both the teams have to be positive from the outset

  • Android on July 21, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Pakistan should have been better off batting first coz dey r not gud at chasing totals..Even a total of 230 seems an uphill task

  • Android on July 21, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    sehzad should go out of team. .let hafeez open the innings. .n in middle order shafiq n misba can play anchor role

  • Android on July 21, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Umar Akmal should bat at number 3 position. Drop Hafeez either down the order or throw him out of the team. I'm sure if not 300 they can easily manage 250+ by this.

  • Android on July 20, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    I think Pkitan team need to promote umar akmal in batting order to route strick. secondly plz beg misbah to take singles on regular base so that the pressure on other batsmen is less. and also tell him that centuries are not counted by number of balls played in fact by number of scored made in a inning. thirdly Muhammad Irfan should bowel in last overs along side ajmal and junaid not wahab. forthly three left arm fast bowlers bowling with same angel and pace r not of any good. plz advise misbah to be more aggressive in field placing after taking wickets bring in a slip or fielder close to bat and stop singles. hafeez should play in middle oder.

  • Android on July 20, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    Pakistan: Both the openers should be given full hand to start with aggression because Pakistan can not afford dots in first 10 overs as well as down the order. Misbah should change the batting order by pulling himself on three down and Umer Akmal should be given a chance to Two down or before new Haris Sohail. and one thing more that death bowlers are only junaid, irfan and ajmal not Mr. Wahab who is consecutively giving lots of runs in 40s overs.

    WI: It a time to put Gayle down the order and bring Samuels in opening for aggression. and bravo should not utiliE himself in death overs which casts WI lots of runs like wahab. and fielding should be improved otherwise by drop catch can drop world cup so why not a series ,,,,,,, Best of Luck Gayle and Ahmed Shehzad.

  • ESPN on July 20, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    Pakistan need to play fearless and aggressively and they need a big hitter down the order like abdul razzaq, And trust me razzaq is far more better than wahab riaz!!!! Please stop us to be the next zimbabwe, We r hading towards it!!!

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