Umar Akmal's 46 off 36 gave Pakistan the final surge to take them to 135, which their bowlers made look like 185 on a slow, dry and used pitch to give them the Twenty20 series to go with the ODI spoils
Umar Akmal's 46 off 36 gave Pakistan the final surge to take them to 135, which their bowlers made look like 185 on a slow, dry and used pitch to give them the Twenty20 series to go with the ODI spoils. Pakistan threatened to leave Ahmed Shehzad's platform of 44 off 46 to waste, but Akmal did just enough - with 38 in the last four overs - for the bowlers, who were soon all over the West Indies batting.
Sohail Tanvir's extra bounce accounted for Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels, Mohammad Hafeez got Chris Gayle for the second time in two afternoons, and before you knew West Indies were 17 for 4. A strategic promotion for Sunil Narine injected some life into the chase as he scored 28 off 16, Kieron Pollard gave them late hope with 23 off 10, but they were fighting too much quality.
After Charles edged Tanvir to Akmal, Gayle's horror home season continued as he fell to a leading edge; since his century in the first ODI of the tri-series earlier in the season, Gayle has not crossed 30 in 10 international innings, and has averaged 10.2. Samuels got a bit of a brute that kicked at him just outside off, and took the gove. Lendl Simmons soon played for a Shahid Afridi legbreak, but it didn't turn and took the middle stumps.
As Dwayne Bravo fought hard, Narine swung merrily, and enjoyed some good timing and some good luck. The two added 47 in 5.3 overs, and brought the target down 72 off 39. Pollard took time to get going, and by the time he decided everything needed to go as West Indies needed 62 in four overs. Over the next four balls, he brought out some savage hits against the 34-year-old rookie Zulfiqar Babar, losing two balls and scoring 20 runs. Babar, though, went over the wicket, and managed to get the outer edge, which still carried to deep cover. Immediately, he got rid of Bravo, who also wanted to go over the off side but found long-off.
In those two balls, the brief life in the chase had frizzled out. Not even a shambolic no-ball call - for the front foot cutting the side crease - could make any difference. In contrast, Pakistan might not have had any such spells of brilliant hitting, but they stayed around the six-an-over mark before going for the big runs in the end.
West Indies seemed to have learned their lesson from having failed to defend 152 in the first game. They didn't give Pakistan any pace to hit. When the visitors ended the Powerplay at 39 for 1, it was the last time their run rate would reach 6.5 before Akmal's hitting in the 19th over. They had to fight a controlled West Indies effort throughout.
Shehzad, who scored 44 off 46, found little support from the other end. Hafeez, opening in the absence of the dropped Nasir Jamshed, was caught on the late cut again. Umar Amin was done in trying to drive on the up. Haris Sohail swung before he got used to the pace of the pitch. Shahid Afridi hit Narine into the strong wind and in the air. Shehzad perished trying to pull Pollard, who had dug the ball in and provided no pace to go with.
At 96 for 5 in the 16th over, it seemed Pakistan would struggle to get to a defendable total, but Akmal kept them in the game. Most of his good work came in the 19th over when Bravo went round the stumps and angled the ball across Akmal with little cover on the cover boundary. He was taken for a four and a six in the 16-run over, but Narine ended his good spell with just six runs in the 20th. As it turned out, Akmal had done enough damage by then.