KINGSTOWN, St.Vincent , CMC – Debutant Zulfiqar Babar struck a six off the last ball with Pakistan needing one win for victory to secure a sensational two wicket win over the West Indies in the first of their two match Twenty/20 International series at the Arnos Vale Playing Field here today.
Chasing 153 for victory Pakistan were helped by Man of the match Shahid Afridi who blazed 46 off 27 balls with four fours and two sixes and the day’s other debutant Umar Amin who topscored with 47 off 41 balls with nine boundaries.
Pakistan ended the 20 overs on158 for eight in reply to West Indies 152 for seven.
After losing Nasir Jamshed, caught by Lendl Simmons for six off Shannon Gabriel and Ahmed Shehzad who held out to Kieron Pollard at long on off Samuel Badree for three the left Handed Amin played with fluent authority and propped up the early part of the Pakistani innings. Afridi then took over to give the innings the final impetus that took Pakistan to their exciting finish.
When Amin went stumped by Charles off Marlon Samuels, Pakistan were 86 for five but Afridi played positively from the moment he stepped to the crease and was severe on anything short delivered by the West Indian bowlers.
Shannon Gabriel picked up three wickets for the West Indies but was very expensive in his spells, conceding 44 runs. His length and line were inconsistent even in the penultimate over which featured several wides. Sunil Narine, Samuel Baree and Marlon Samuels picked up a wicket each.
Kieron Pollard hinted of a return to form spanking an unbeaten 49 for the West Indies off 36 balls including four boundaries and two sixes. Together with Darren Sammy they took West Indies from 98 for five to 151 for six, a partnership of 53. Sammy blasted 30 off 14 balls with two fours and three huge sixes. His strike rate was up at 214.28. It helped bring some respectability for the West Indies who batted first after winning the toss on a dry pitch
Pollard also featured in a crucial fifth wicket stand of 56 with Dwayne Bravo who made 25 before becoming one of Zulfiqar Babar’s three wickets on debut. The 34 year old orthodox left arm spinner finished with three for 23 including the wickets of Lendl Simmons bowled for six and Marlon Samuels who was caught and bowled after reaching 25 off 22 balls.
Captain Mohammad Hafeez showed his worth opening the bowling for Pakistan in the Twenty/20 format sending back Johnson Charles bowled for 1 and Chris Gayle, leg before for five (5) to leave West Indies 13-2. Hafeez finished with two for four off two overs.
The defeat was the first for the West Indies in Twenty/20 internationals since becoming world champions in October last year. The game also marked the first Twenty/20 International played at the Arnos Vale Playing Field. The second and final match of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.