Tour review

West Indies v Pakistan, 2017

Mazher Arshad

Twenty20 internationals (4): West Indies 1, Pakistan 3
One-day internationals (3): West Indies 1, Pakistan 2
Test matches (3): West Indies 1, Pakistan 2

West Indies needed to block seven balls to draw the Test decider in Dominica, with No. 11 Shannon Gabriel on strike. To general astonishment, he swiped at an innocuous Yasir Shah delivery - and was bowled, gifting Pakistan their first Test series win in the Caribbean at the eighth attempt, and a clean sweep across all formats. Amid wild Pakistani celebrations, the Trinidadian TV commentator Fazeer Mohammed summed up the mood, his cry of "Why did he do that?" becoming a social media hit. Misbah-ul-Haq was kinder, suggesting Gabriel might not have been confident blocking with so many close fielders, though he had appeared comfortable until then. Misbah's charity was understandable.

Before the Test series, he and Younis Khan had announced their intention to retire at the end of it; Gabriel gave them the perfect swansong. After Pakistan had easily won in Jamaica, where Younis became the first Pakistani to reach 10,000 Test runs, and Yasir picked up eight of his 25 wickets, few predicted a thrilling finale. But West Indies bounced back in Barbados, defending a small target on the final day. Gabriel was the hero then, his brimstone bowling claiming five for 11; ten days later, he was to play the villain, leaving Roston Chase, who was 101 not out, crestfallen: his 403 runs in the series at over 100 had done most to keep West Indies competitive.

Another Test had been in the original schedule, but two extra Twenty20 internationals were slotted in earlier in the tour; the WICB abandoned the idea of staging them in Florida. It was only the second time - after Bangladesh v Zimbabwe in 2015-16 - that two Full Members had played a four-match 20-over series. In none did West Indies look like the team that had lifted the World T20 a year earlier. Pakistan won the first two - making Sarfraz Ahmed the third, after Kumar Sangakkara and Misbah, to win his first six T20Is as captain - and took the series 3-1. Shadab Khan, a teenage leg-spinner who had starred in the Pakistan Super League, finished with ten wickets at 7.50.

The one-dayers were more significant than usual: the teams were desperate for rankings points to help them squeeze into the ICC's top eight by September 30, and qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup (in the event, neither team budged: Pakistan stayed eighth, and West Indies ninth). All three matches were played at the Providence Stadium in Guyana, which had been relaid after gaining a reputation for low scoring. West Indies pulled off their record chase to take the first, before Pakistan won the series convincingly. Sarfraz had passed his first test since becoming permanent one-day captain. Yet his leadership style was criticised for being too demonstrative, and often shouted at his fielders during crunch moments. After that dramatic finale in Dominica, however, he and his team-mates could make as much noise as he wanted.

Match reports for

1st T20I: West Indies v Pakistan at Bridgetown, Mar 26, 2017
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2nd T20I: West Indies v Pakistan at Port of Spain, Mar 30, 2017
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3rd T20I: West Indies v Pakistan at Port of Spain, Apr 1, 2017
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4th T20I: West Indies v Pakistan at Port of Spain, Apr 2, 2017
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1st ODI: West Indies v Pakistan at Providence, Apr 7, 2017
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2nd ODI: West Indies v Pakistan at Providence, Apr 9, 2017
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3rd ODI: West Indies v Pakistan at Providence, Apr 11, 2017
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Tour match: West Indies President's XI v Pakistan at Florence Hall, Apr 15-17, 2017

1st Test: West Indies v Pakistan at Kingston, Apr 21-25, 2017
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2nd Test: West Indies v Pakistan at Bridgetown, Apr 30-May 4, 2017
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3rd Test: West Indies v Pakistan at Roseau, May 10-14, 2017
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