Rain plays spoilsport as first West Indies-Pakistan T20I gets washed out after nine overs
Hasan Ali and debutant Mohammad Wasim impress for Pakistan with the ball
No result West Indies 85 for 5 (Pollard 22*, Hasan 2-11, Qadir 1-6) vs Pakistan
Incessant rain first reduced the first West Indies-Pakistan T20I to a nine-over shootout before eventually washing away the match. Pakistan had chosen to bowl first under cloudy skies with rain also predicted, but the teams raced off to the dressing room just after completing their national anthems. It took almost three hours for the rain to stop and the ground to dry, with the umpires then deciding to curtail the contest.
But of whatever was played, Kieron Pollard
and the Pakistan bowlers combined to ensure there was entertaining cricket while it lasted.
Debutant Wasim has instant impact
All it took right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim
to land a blow was five balls, although that was not a wicket. In the second over of the West Indies innings, he pitched one short of a length on middle and off, and got it to angle in with the bounce on to Lendl Simmons
, who missed his pull. The ball instead hit him on the right side of his neck, immediately inviting the physio on the ground, who decided to take Simmons off with a sling protecting his right arm.
Wasim was taken off after that, but returned to bowl the seventh over. After hurting Simmons, he then had Chris Gayle caught at long-on as the bowler now brought out the slower ball. Gayle, who had come in after Simmons, played away from his body to try and heave that, but only found the fielder in search of rapid runs.
Just wickets and sixes
Amidst a flurry of dot balls - which were 30 in total - and a bunch of extras, which contributed 14, there were five wickets claimed with as many sixes slammed from the third over until the eighth. Hasan Ali
got two, while Mohammad Hafeez, Usman Qadir and Wasim all grabbed a wicket each. Nicholas Pooran cracked twin sixes off Hafeez, before Gayle deposited Shadab Khan over his head and Andre Russell dispatched Qadir over extra cover - all this, before Pollard got into Ali with a whip.
Pollard provides late entertainment, but Hasan delivers too
Pollard arrived at the crease with one ball of the sixth over left, but watched from the other end as Gayle fell in the following over with West Indies' run rate still under nine. With Pollard on strike, Ali was brought back for the eighth after foxing Evin Lewis off his first ball earlier in the innings. This time, Ali was whacked first ball over deep square leg as Pollard swung his bat to a good length ball on middle and leg, and despite not quite finding the middle of the bat, sent the ball sailing over deep square leg.
But that was the only boundary Ali conceded off his two overs, digging the slower balls perfectly on a rain-affected pitch to keep the West Indies batters quiet. Ali then got Shimron Hetmyer three balls later - Mohammad Rizwan completed a good diving catch - with the hosts struggling for momentum amidst the numerous cutters from the visiting bowlers.
Pollard was on 10 off 5 deliveries when only four balls remained in the innings, and the West Indies captain ensured they were well taken care of. A dot ball later, Shaheen Afridi pitched one short on middle and leg as Pollard pulled fiercely to bisect deep square leg and deep midwicket for four. After nabbing two more runs, he ended with a maximum by sending the ball crashing over deep square leg when he made room to a length ball on middle and off, and pulled with disdain. Although he got 12 runs off the last three balls, rain would have the final say with Pakistan not having to chase the total.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo