West Indies' batting coach Toby Radford rued another poor batting display from his side in their 16-run loss to Pakistan in the second T20I in Dubai. Having lost the series, Radford said that West Indies couldn't counter Pakistan's game plan of spin on a ground with a slow track and big boundaries. Poor starts in the Powerplay didn't help their cause, he added.
In the first T20I, West Indies were struggling at 25 for 5 after the first six overs and were eventually bowled out for a paltry 115. In the second, chasing 161, they lost three wickets in the Powerplay putting only 20 runs on the board. Radford pointed out that West Indies were unable to switch to a mode that focused on accumulating runs through singles and twos, like Pakistan have done in the matches so far.
"The first Powerplay yesterday and today were every similar. Yesterday we were five down, three down in the first six today," Radford said after the game. "And I think the big difference when you looked at Pakistan in the first six was they were 38 for 1 and 39 for 1 on both days.
"Clearly the game plan from Pakistan has been to have slow wickets to bowl a lot of spin and have very big boundaries. West Indies are known to be a big, six-hitting and boundary-hitting side, normally play on quicker pitches and slightly smaller grounds. But it's up to us to find a way around that.
"Pakistan have bowled well, they have actually fielded well. When they batted, they showed on a slow wicket and a big outfield that it's actually all about knocking the ball into gaps and doing a lot of running. They ran a lot of twos tonight which I think really stretched us, and I don't think it was ever going to be a game for lots of boundaries because I don't think it's that type of surface and that type of outfield."
While Radford praised seamer Sohail Tanvir, who picked up 3 for 13 in his four overs, Pakistan's T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed also credited the innings played by Shoaib Malik at No. 4. Malik, who became only the third Pakistan player to score more than 1500 T20I runs, chipped in with a useful 28-ball 37, and added 69 with Sarfraz for the fourth wicket before falling in the last over. That partnership helped Pakistan garner 60 runs off the last six overs. Sarfraz finished unbeaten on 46 off 32 balls.
Sarfraz also stated that the team management had decided to send in Umar Akmal at No. 6 to bolster the lower order, which had been missing a finisher.
"It was our strategy to play Umar Akmal at No. 6, since we needed a finisher in the lower order. We scored about 50 runs in the last five overs and we felt that was enough as we had set a target of a 150+ score," Sarfraz said. "A lot of credit goes to Shoaib Malik too, the way he played with me at the end. We needed a senior player to stay at the wicket and he did that for us."
Pakistan went in with an unchanged side for the second match, leaving out fast bowler Mohammad Amir. Sarfraz stressed that the management wanted to give players confidence through a longer stint in the side and Amir was a part of the side's plans for the future.
"We have tried to keep a winning combination so we didn't try to change too much," Sarfraz said. "That is also our target - to give players a longer run in the side to build their confidence. Mohammad Amir is our main bowler and he will definitely play an important role for us in the future."