Pakistan 303 for 6 (Bazid 66, Afridi 56) beat West Indies 281 (Gayle 124, Razzaq 4-45) by 22 runs, and won the series 3-0
Scorebard and ball-by-ball details
Scorebard and ball-by-ball details
Chris Gayle's 11th one-day international century could not prevent West Indies slipping to a 22-run defeat against Pakistan in St Lucia. Pakistan, therefore, claim a 3-0 series whitewash, while for West Indies it means they have lost all eight ODIs during their home season.
But this was a valiant loss, rather than the timid surrenders which have been the common story in recent days. If West Indies had consistently batted with the conviction they showed in this game, the last three weeks of one-day cricket would not have been half as painful for them.
However, both long-term and recent history was against West Indies as they set out in pursuit of Pakistan's 303 for 6 - the highest score made in St Lucia - and West Indies' recent batting efforts suggested they had no chance.
Gayle, though, did not believe that. After sensibly playing himself in he launched a thunderous attack on the Pakistan bowlers, which included taking 17 off one Rana Naved over. Two scorching cover-drives unleashed the shackles, and he also plundered boundaries straight down the ground.
Wavell Hinds, while not quite sitting on his bat at the other end, was far more sedate, but still managed to find the boundary. The opening pair added 90 - West Indies' best first-wicket stand of the season in any form of cricket - before Hinds played a loose pull in Abdul Razzaq's first over and bottom-edged a catch to Kamran Akmal (90 for 1).
Ramnaresh Sarwan came in at his usual No. 3 position, but in the unusual position of having a foundation to build on, and almost inevitably didn't manage to take advantage of the opening stand. However, Sarwan can't be blamed too much for his dismissal, as Younis Khan held a stinging effort at short extra cover as Sarwan middled a drive (96 for 2).
Shivnarine Chanderpaul promoted himself to No. 4 to take the responsibility of building a partnership with Gayle, and they added 75 in 13 overs. But the required rate continued to climb above seven an over, and when Chanderpaul picked out long-off the inexperienced middle order was exposed (171 for 3). Runako Morton may have scored a half-century in yesterday's match, but it was painful affair. Again, today, his arrival slowed the West Indies innings at a crucial time.
Morton has been clueless when it comes to playing Pakistan's spinners, and in this game they had three. He employed a block-or-bash approach, and although he did find the boundary on three occasions the pressure became intolerable. Eventually it told, as Morton was forced to try to launch the ball out of the ground and only found long-on (220 for 4). Dwayne Smith lasted only three balls, and West Indies' final chance departed with Gayle, when his fine 137-ball innings was ended by a catch at short extra cover from Shabbir Ahmed (250 for 6).
Pakistan's mammoth total was built around an explosive half-century from Shahid Afridi and a more sedate maiden ODI fifty from Bazid Khan. Afridi laid the foundations with a breathtaking display of clean hitting, racing to his half-century from 27 balls, and his allround efforts sealed him the Man of the Match and Series awards.
Bazid (the son of the former Pakistan captain Majid Khan) and Yousuf Youhana added 96 for the second wicket, sensibly picking up the singles. Youhana notched up another one-day half-century - his 43rd - while the lower order were free to play their attacking game. The innings was rounded off in fine style by Kamran as he deposited the last three deliveries into the stand for six.
West Indies were always chasing the game after Afridi's early onslaught, which included took 14 off three balls from Ian Bradshaw. But to the relief of Chanderpaul - if not the Pakistanis and any watching neutrals - the first bowling change worked, as Corey Collymore served up a leg-stump half-volley, which Afridi hit down Dwayne Bravo's throat at deep square leg (87 for 1).
Pakistan's batting depth allowed them to make the most of Afridi's blitz, and that was the major difference between the sides. Gayle, masterful as his innings was, could not rely on any of his team mates for support.
No matter how much gloss you try to put on it, this result completes a depressing one-day international season for the West Indies. Pakistan, on the other hand, have won seven ODIs on the bounce, are playing like a team united, and will provide an equally stern challenge in the Test series, which starts in Barbados on Thursday.
West Indies vs Pakistan
Pakistan tour of West Indies
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo