West Indies v Pakistan, 5th ODI, St Lucia July 24, 2013

Steady Misbah steers 3-1 triumph

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Pakistan 243 for 6 (Shehzad 64, Misbah 63, Best 3-48) beat West Indies 242 for 7 (Dwayne Bravo 48, Samuels 45, Charles 43, Junaid 3-48) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

With his fourth half-century in five games this series, the world's leading ODI run-getter of 2013 shepherded his volatile band of batsmen home in another tricky chase. Misbah-ul-Haq battled falling wickets at the other end, a charged up Tino Best, and a rain interruption as late as the 98th over of the game to take Pakistan to their third successive away bilateral series win over West Indies. Yet again this series, Umar Akmal was called upon to overcome the asking-rate towards the end, and once more, he did not disappoint, delivering the series to Pakistan with a 3-1 margin.

Misbah formed partnerships with Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail and Akmal before falling in the last over trying to slog the winning hit, with the scores tied. He had already ensured Pakistan had won the series; a tie would have meant the margin would have been 2-1.

When Sohail became the latest profligate Pakistan batsman to fall, chasing a wide Best delivery, Pakistan needed 83 from 12 overs. Best, having conceded 25 off his first three overs, was in the mood for a furious comeback. Pinging down bouncers in the mid-140s, he smacked one into Misbah's fingers. While the storm was being weathered by the captain, Akmal did his act at the other end.

The inexperienced Jason Holder was taken for three successive fours in the next over, the 41st, the second of those coming off a poor effort at fine leg from Marlon Samuels. It wasn't the first time West Indies had messed up in the field today, and it wasn't to be the last. Akmal steered a short ball to the fine third man rope next ball. Holder cracked further under pressure, four leg-byes resulting off Misbah's pad down the leg side off the last ball of the over.

Misbah managed a four off an inside edge to Sunil Narine next over and held his nerve to reverse-sweep the offspinner for four more. Then arrived the moment which once again highlighted what a farce a watered-down DRS has been in this series, in the absence of HotSpot. West Indies were sure Misbah had gloved a Best bouncer to the keeper down leg, the on-field umpire did not agree, and the third umpire had too much guesswork to do with only replays and sound as tools. Misbah was on 49 then, and Pakistan would have needed 53 of 46 had he been given. Darren Bravo had been given caught-behind on referral on the basis of sound earlier and West Indies had a right to expect consistency.

Though Best predictably lost his temper, West Indies were not giving in. Dwayne Bravo, who often disappears for plenty at the death, delivered two tight overs. But Akmal found the big stroke when Pakistan sorely needed it. Narine was cut for four, Best was carted over mid-off for six. A top-edge flew over the keeper for four more, but even as clouds swept in over the stadium, Akmal holed out to mid-off for 37 off 28.

A 20-minute break followed but Pakistan were ahead on D/L by five runs, and safe in the knowledge that the series was theirs, in case no further play was possible. Sunshine followed soon, though, and Shahid Afridi weighed in at the hit end of the hit-or-miss scale. Bravo was pulled for six over deep midwicket and punched past point for four. Game over? Not yet.

Misbah hit Holder to short midwicket second ball of the final over, and Saeed Ajmal took three deliveries to get bat on ball. Had the throw from mid-on hit, it would have gone down to the final ball. It didn't, and Afridi and Ajmal hugged, as did their team-mates in the Pakistan dressing room.

Credit for the win also went to Shehzad, who made his first substantial score of the series, and guided Pakistan's chase amid tight bowling from Narine and Darren Sammy. The pitch eased out further in the second innings. Cutting and pulling without trouble, Nasir Jamshed and Shehzad brought up Pakistan's first 50-run opening stand in 17 innings, excluding a game against Scotland.

Trust Pakistan to blow such a rare promising start. Jamshed was stranded for the second game running, Shehzad taking a few steps and stopping this time, after Mohammad Hafeez in the previous game. Hafeez himself got a start and then had a heave at Sammy. However, Shehzad had Misbah to steady things.

The opposing captain's cameo had earlier taken his side to to 242 for 7 from 170 for 6. Dwayne Bravo, with 48 off 27, was assisted by his predecessor, Darren Sammy, who made an unbeaten 29 off 18.

The West Indies top six never managed any sort of sustained partnership. Two of them, Johnson Charles and Samuels, got forties, but were also the ones who struggled to score the most. Devon Smith fell early yet again. Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons were unable to convert starts.

Junaid Khan was outstanding, barring the last over when Sammy went after him, making a case for him to have played through the series. Mohammad Irfan was unlucky not to break through in his opening spell, but came back even stronger to remove Charles and Samuels. West Indies took 64 from the last five overs, but Misbah's calm and Akmal's aggression were enough to overhaul that.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • idrizzy on July 27, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    @getsetgopk interesting points you say. I agree about winning vs WI (i think ranked 8th?) who are going through a transition phase. I think Pakistan are going through a phase too, and I still think Misbah will be there for WC15 LOL. I was watching old videos of Pakistan, we'd get 70 in 10 overs. Where's that now? I gotta agree, Misbah's calm approach has not helped the progress of some aggressive batsmen who's natural game is to score quick, like Jamshed. This is why he must NOT be the captain of Pakistan, but we still need him in our team. Like I said earlier, he needs to rotate the strike more. Although his stats are SR 71, ave 57 (2013), he MUST rotate strike more! I also agree with FINALLY MALIK, FARHAT GONE, RIAZ MUST GO TOO! He cannot bowl at all. ER always 6+ with no wickets. AND agree with rest of team must do their bit. Openers must do better! Look: Openers out -> adds pressure to middle order -> Misbah goes slow -> more pressure on power hitters -> score under 250.

  • bouncer709 on July 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    The people who just look at Misbah higher average, my question to them is that if Mibah see that no player is able to hold one down position, then why Misbah is reluctant to play on one down? In fact it suits Mibah 2, 3 down so he can bat slowly. Misbah is 40, than whats wrong with Younis Khan 35? if we look at the stats, younis khan record in tests is far better then Misbah, and younis khan 21 centuries, his double/triple century too. If he can stand on wicket for 150 overs, it is possible for him too to stand in ODI for 50 overs, and not scoring. but fact is that when you try to rotate strike, or hit some shots you increase your chances of out, and Misbah don't care about strike rotatio, he leave it to Uakmal & afridi, include any other test player in ODI team and ask him to just stand on the wicket, every body will do it. but those who want replacement, Fawad Alam is replacement, He is young, his stats are better than Misbah in test, first class, and even 37 ave in ODI (allroudne

  • getsetgopk on July 26, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    Fast_Track_Bully: The problem is right there in front of you and you are looking at it but somehow can't see it and I dont know why. As you put it, consistent performance is better than a record breaking one every 10 to 15 games. Even if I take your words, there is no one other than Misbah and Afridi who one can expect to show either sporadic brilliance (Afridi) or slow but dependable (Misbah) performance. The problem is neither Afridi nor Misbah (the batsman not the captain), the problem is with the rest of team not pulling its weight. I've always had issues with Misbah's captaincy, I think he's only fit to lead in Tests. Someone younger and aggressive should be the captain but looking at the team as it is, there is no one able to be captain than Afridi. I am happy with having Misbah as a batsman in the middle order. We just won a meaningless series against WI, we should be building team for WC 15, where will Misbah be by then? Its all a waste of time.

  • Sports4Youth on July 26, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    @ Solid_Snake : I compleately agree with you on all the points. Specially more about repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different result everytime. This mistake they also did in selecting M.Sami, S.Tanvir & S.Mallik so many times. Now they are doing the same mistake with W.Riaz. Misbah Thinks that W.Riaz is a match winner. He is copletely wrong. Moreover, Misbah himself should not be in the team, because it is because of his slowness that the other players are under pressure to score at phenomenal rates and then they loose their wickets. While Misbah continues his tuk-tuk ways of blocking without rotating the strike. DONT KNOW WHEN THINGS WILL CHANGE IN PCB.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on July 26, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    @getsetgopk Consistent performance is enough. 20+ scores every time is better for a team than a score 50+ in one game and single digits in all other games.

  • getsetgopk on July 26, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Fast_Track_Bully: If you could name another player in this side that has even performed once in the past few years, a cricket team has 11 players in it. If all of them could perform every 11th time, Pak would thrash their opposition almost every time. Asking one player to drag the weight of the rest of 10 is not being funny, its silly.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on July 26, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    @getsetgopk. Just remove that one permance 76, 7/12 and learn where Afridi stands. Funny to see that Pak fans still not learned from his previous performances at crucial stages!

  • dummy4fb on July 26, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Since Shiv Chanderpaul "retired" from ODI there were 11 different players who batted at No. 5 in the last 47 ODI that West Indies played. There were one hundred, six 50s and seven ducks and one not out. Total of 1189 runs at an average of 25.85.

    In Shiv's last 47 ODI innings he scored 2039 runs at an average of 60.0 with 11 50s, 5 hundreds, one duck with 13 not outs. (Shiv only has six ducks in 251 ODI innings).

    Would West Indies won more games in the last 47 ODIs if Shiv was in the team? We would never know but I think he would have been more consistent than the 11 players who batted at No. 5.

  • Chaudry_Cricket on July 26, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    Good series win overall the boys will have gained some confidence. But we should analyse this series and see what changes we should make. For example Umar Akmal and Hafeez should swap batting positions. And who should play Afridi or Hafeez only 1 should be in the final 11 as two disrupt the balance. We need to completey drop Abdur Rehman from the odi squad seeing as he wont get a game .

    Going forward we should carry this squad forward ...

    Openers . Jamshed. Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan Middle order. Misbah. Haris. Umar Amin. Usman Sallahudin Wicketkeepers. Mohammad Rizwan and Umar Akmal Finishers. Hafeez, Afridi and Hammad Azam Fast Bowlers. Junaid, Irfan, Asad Ali ( Needs to develop good prospect ) U Gul (when he returns) Spinners. Saeed Ajmal and Raza Hasan

    Obviously final 11 should be picked seeing the pitch etc.

    But 1 thing in this series I hope Misbah and Whatmore have learnt is that we still have problems in death bowling and STRIKE ROTATION!!!

  • Solid_Snake on July 25, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    @Sports4Youth:I also said this thing on a no of occasions that we should not get carried away by this victory.It's WI we playing against currently & they are facing Batting issues as well.This defensive technique of Misbah is okay for the time being but this technique was a big flop from day 1..People just dont think what happened with our team in SA,CT & tournaments before that.With this Defensive approach of Misbah,If Pak had been winning the matches consistently then i would have praised Misbah a lot.But if Pak is losing most of the matches then what's the point of repeating same mistake again & again.Only you understand this thing what i am trying to say.Rest of the fans would take me as a fan of Afridi which i am not