West Indies tumble to 59-run defeat
Pakistan 192 (Salman Butt 43) beat West Indies 133 (Abdul Razzaq 4-29) by 59 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A disciplined Pakistan performance in the field allowed them to ease to a 59-run win in St Vincent and take a 1-0 lead in the series. Faced with a target of 193 West Indies' batting slumped in familiar fashion against a varied attack and, once the top-order was blown away, they folded meekly as Abdul Razzaq finished with 4 for 29.
All the Pakistan seamers bowled tightly and intelligently, with Naved-ul-Hasan particularly impressive, and they were backed up by Shahid Afridi's mixture of brisk legbreaks and googlies. An alert fielding performance, which showed the hallmarks of the hard work put in by Bob Woolmer since he took over as coach, strangled the West Indies' batting and led a series of poor strokes.
The average first-innings score at Arnos Vale is just 207, so Pakistan's 192 was not going to be a stroll in the sunshine, but it began to take on huge proportions when both openers were out-thought by Naved.
Xavier Marshall is woefully out of his depth at this level - hardly surprising, with such limited domestic experience behind him - and again could only prod around optimistically. Naved, who repeatedly surprised the West Indians with his deceptive pace, tried him with a bouncer and Marshall obliged with a limp pull shot, which looped up for Kamran Akmal to take a simple catch next to first slip.
Chris Gayle started with a bang, as is often the case, taking three fours off Rao Iftikhar's third over, before he was also undone by a Naved bouncer. This time the top-edge required a brilliant athletic catch from Akmal, as he sprinted from behind the stumps to a backward square-leg position. He dived and held on to the catch, winding himself in the process, and Pakistan knew they had removed the one batsman who was capable of dominating on this tricky surface and slow outfield.
Shabbir Ahmed induced Ramnaresh Sarwan to edge a catch to second slip, before Afridi ended Runako Morton's tortuous 48-ball 13 with the first delivery of his spell. Although there was some doubt as to whether the ball brushed the inside edge, Morton never settled at the crease in his first international innings since February 2002, in Sharjah.
Razzaq then exploited the fragile confidence of the West Indian middle order. Wavell Hinds got an inside-edge into his stumps, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul played a limp shot outside off stump. The pitch became increasingly difficult to time shots on, and as the ball grew softer boundaries were a rare commodity. Gayle had managed five while the ball was new, the rest of the order managed just four between them.
Gayle had earlier starred with the ball as Pakistan suffered a collapse of their own, slumping from 133 for 3 to 192 all out. He bowled Inzamam-ul-Haq and two balls later flung himself to his right, to take a stunning one-handed catch, as Younis Khan got a leading edge to another non-turning offspinner.
Ian Bradshaw bowled a superb opening spell of seven overs and his probing off-stump line meant the top order could not force the pace. Salman Butt played well, to see off the threat, and his 43 proved to be the highest score of the match but, worryingly for West Indies, Pakistan's batting has plenty in reserve.
A small comfort for West Indies was that their performance in the field was the best of all their one-day internationals this season. But it is no good getting half your game right, if the other half fails, and this has to go down has another match West Indies should have won.
The series is still alive with two matches remaining, in St Lucia over the weekend. However, this West Indian team seem incapable of putting all the facets of their game together, and they have just two days to find some answers. Don't hold your breath.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo