Misbah, Hafeez secure lead in shortened game
Pakistan 189 for 4 (Hafeez 59, Misbah 53*) beat West Indies 261 for 7 (Samuels 106*, Simmons 46) by 6 wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
When the rain finally subsided to revise Pakistan's target to 189 in 31 overs, leaving them 121 to get in 14 remaining overs, West Indies' captain Dwayne Bravo was clearly not happy. He looked at the sheet of paper given by the umpire in disgust, and handed it over to a team-mate. Pakistan, who had eight wickets in hand, had to give up further Powerplay overs, but all of West Indies' main bowlers had bowled by then and didn't have many overs left. West Indies were sluggish, almost resigned, whereas Pakistan chased with intent, and took an unassailable 2-1 lead with only the final game to go.
During the chase, Misbah-ul-Haq went past Wasim Akram's record of most ODI runs without a century, but saw Pakistan home with a cool unbeaten 53 off 43, which complemented Mohammad Hafeez's 59 off 62. The stand the two put together meant that Marlon Samuel's century earlier in the day, scored in what was then a 49-over game, and instrumental in setting up the biggest total of the series, went in vain.
Until rain arrived, though, West Indies were doing it just right. They had weathered a quickish start from Pakistan, dried up the runs, eked out two wickets, but because only two batsmen had been dismissed, Pakistan's revised target was not out of reach. In hindsight, Misbah's decision to bowl in a series that no side had won chasing until then, and despite no forecast of rain, ended up giving them the advantage.
The grumpy West Indies came out, and resumed with part-time bowlers at each end. Bravo himself began with a wide first ball after rain. Hafeez and Misbah, the unbeaten batsmen, seized the momentum, taking 17 off the first two overs. West Indies knew they could have given one of Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder two overs, and the other two just an over each.
Hafeez went after Holder, pulling him for two sixes in the 21st over. Even as Bravo continued to go for runs, bowling ahead of Darren Sammy who went for just 10 in three overs, West Indies turned to Narine at the other end. Pakistan played that over out peacefully, which brought the target down to 62 from 48.
In the next over, Roach got slightly lucky with Hafeez's wicket, who played a square-drive straight to point. Shahid Afridi was closer to the miss on his hit-or-miss spectrum. When He fell, Pakistan needed 45 off 34.
Misbah had quietly made 38 off 33 by then. And for company, he had Umar Akmal, who might have missed a stumping earlier in the day but was in good touch with the bat. The third ball he faced, he square-drove for four. After that, they calculated the chase well, choosing to sit back in Narine's final over, the 29th. However, towards the end of that over, Narine provided Misbah with a log hop, which he duly dispatched for six, bringing the equation down to 15 off 13. Seven of those 13 deliveries were not bowled as Akmal ran through the target in the 30th over.
West Indies were left dazed, and it was not hard to see why. Earlier in the day, they had put up the best batting performance of the series, by either side, to break free from the middling range of 220-235. They were led by the return to form of the best batsman in recent times, Samuels, who converted a slow start - 19 off 33 - into the first century of the series - 106 off 104.
The day began with rain, which reduced the game to 49 overs, and dampening news for Chris Gayle, whose recent poor form pushed him down to No. 5. Turned out it didn't save him from the new ball. The balls were only eight overs old when West Indies lost three wickets. Devon Smith, the man brought in as opening replacement for Gayle, managed to score his first run in three innings, but soon bottom-edged Mohammad Irfan through to the keeper.
Gayle walked in at 63 for 3 to face the big test of having been demoted at this stage of his career. Like the rest of the series, Gayle was unsure again, and had two left-arm quicks, a variety that has troubled him of late, bowling at him. It should have become 64 for 4 immediately as Gayle followed Riaz outside off, but Hafeez spilled it. Gayle looked determined after that, and along with Samuels began to rebuild the innings.
Samuels lost Gayle in the 30th over, after a 57-run stand, but the signs of a Samuels special had been there. The next 20 overs were all Samuels, although Lendl Simmons, Sammy and Dwayne Bravo were worthy support acts. Samuels either danced down to spin or sat back to set up base for big hitting off the quicks. Simmons continued his form at the other end, helped of course by a missed stumping.
Ninety runs came off the last 10 overs with Samuels' century coming up with just one ball to go. He celebrated elaborately, letting out a scream and taking three bows. At the end of the day, when named the Man of the Match, he was bitterly disappointed.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo