The recently ended series between Pakistan and West Indies was an important series for both sides in order to improve their ranking and to make their qualification for ICC World Cup 2019 certain. Pakistan ended up being the stronger side and taking the series 2-1. However, this will not get them a promotion in the rankings, but will surely help them to retain their 8th spot in the official ICC ODI rankings.
Pakistan missed their top class aggressive batsman, Sharjeel Khan due to match fixing issue during the PSL in February. This issue resulted in getting the top scorer of PSL, Kamran Akmal a chance to make a comeback and show his skills once again. Pakistan seems to have consistency in the middle order, which is a good sign for them for the upcoming Champions trophy June this year.
West Indies on the other hand have had many ups and downs not only in this series, but in the previous one against England as well. They lack consistency and some key players who they can count on during the big matches. Nonetheless, there were a few positives points to be noted from West indies as well. Jason Mohammed and Ashley Nurse showed great contribution in the matches. West Indies still needs to word hard to promote in the ranking.
Pakistan came out as favourites before the tour began. The fans expected a whitewash, which looked more than possible in the start of the first game. They posted a slightly above average looking total of 308 runs and looked rather overconfident with the total. Mohammad Hafeez shifted his slow gears along with Shoaib Malik who was looking destructive before he came to the middle. However, Pakistan no doubt looked to be favourites in the match until 39 overs had been bowled in the match. It was a moment when Jason Mohammed started his destructive innings and gave the West Indian fans some hope to chase down the total with a RRR of just above 9. The unpredictable Pakistani team lost this match courtesy of Jason Mohammed’s firing 91*(58) which included 11 boundaries and 3 maximums, and Ashley Nurse’s much needed 34*(15) with 5 boundaries and a huge six against the young gun, Shadab Khan.
MOM: Jason Mohammed
Captain Sarfaraz looked rather more aggressive in the second game of the series and wanted to win this game by the looks of his body language. Pakistan, just like the first game lost the toss and were put in to bat once again. They started their innings of pretty slowly due to the loss of wickets in the beginning. The star, Babar Azam again stood up for his team with a blistering 125*(132). Pakistan reached 200 runs in 43.2 overs with Babar Azam and Imad Wasim at the crease. It was about time they shifted their gears after some impressive piece of bowling by the West Indians. Pakistan ended their quota with 282/5 on the board courtesy of Imad Wasim’s 43*(35) with 2 sixes and 2 fours, and Babar Azam’s quick firing 125*(132) with three huge sixes and 7 fours. The West Indians never seemed to have found a start in this one, and were struggling on 75/6 with Pakistani bowlers all over them. West Indies reached 208 runs before getting all out. The skipper, Jason Holder did his best to win this game for his team, but the dangerous Pakistani bowling attack did not let this happen. Holder finished on 68(87) and Hasan Ali took his best figure (5-38).
MOM: Babar Azam.
The third game was a do or die match for both sides. The series being tied at 1-1, and Pakistan having the worst series decider record. Sarfaraz and his boys still looked aggressive and wanted to take the series away from West Indies. Jason Holder again won the toss and this time elected to Bat first. The match was being played on the same pitch and it was not easy to score runs on it according to experts. West Indies again never got a start and posted a total of 233/9 in 50 overs. Shai Hope with his slow but useful 71(112) with 1 four and 2 sixes and Jason Mohammed’s again much needed quick inning 59(64) with 5 fours and a six.
Pakistan started their inning very poor after losing Kamran Akmal on the first ball of the innings. West Indies started looking favourites to seal this series when Pakistan were 36/3 losing both Babar and Shehzad. The unpredictability from the Pakistani team began again, as Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez put on a huge partnership of 113 runs. 66 runs being contributed by Mohammad Hafeez while 44 runs were put on the board by the experienced Malik on the 4th wicket partnership. Hafeez later got out on 81(86) with 8 boundaries and 2 sixes. Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed led their team to a series win in the end. Shoaib Malik ended up getting an unbelievable century. Malik was on 95* when the team needed 4 runs to win from 7 overs left in the game, he hit a six on the first ball of Holder’s over and shifted his own score to a match winning 101*(111) with 10 fours and 2 sixes. The skipper, Sarfaraz also helped in the end with his 24 not out.
Pakistan won the Series 2-1. Malik answered the critics by earning the Man of the Series as well as Man of the Match award in this game. A proud moment for Pakistan’s middle order batting lineup.
STARS IN MAKING
We have seen some great performances in the series, Jason Mohammed’s breathtaking 90 from 58, Babar Azam’s firing 125 from 132, Hasan Ali’s 5/38 and Young leggie Shadab Khan’s extra ordinary spin bowling. All these performances will take the modern era cricket a long way and will inspire the kids watching cricket on their television.