By Royston Alkins
Jason Mohammed and Ashley Nurse produced a sensational seventh wicket stand of 50 runs from 28 balls to snatch a four-wicket win for West Indies over Pakistan at the Providence National Stadium yesterday in the first match of the Brighto Paints Q Mobile Cup one–day series.
The score of 309-6, in response to Pakistan’s 308-5, was the highest successful run chase by any Caribbean side and the win awakened interest in the three-match series which from all indications, promises to be an exciting one.
West Indies, who won toss and elected to bowl on the newly laid surface, found it difficult to contain Pakistan’s openers Ahmed Shahzad (67) and Kamran Akmal (47) who started steady and shifted gears by playing a number of elegant strokes on both sides of the wicket to quickly carry the score to 85 for one at the end of the 15th over.
Windies had an opportunity to earn an early breakthrough when Ashley Nurse, who, prior to yesterday’s match had stressed the importance of holding their chances, floored a difficult opportunity at second slip off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph to give Shahzad an early life during the third over with the batsman on one..
Skipper Jason Holder, however, got the first breakthrough at the end of the 15th over when Akmal chased a wide delivery and slapped it to Chadwick Walton at extra-cover to fall for 47 which included five fours and three sixes.
Mohammad Hafeez joined the well-set Shehzad and the two pushed the score to 132 for one at the halfway point. Soon afterwards, however, West Indies got their second breakthrough when Shehzad lost his off stump to Nurse, leaving the score on 140 for 2.
With 15 overs to go, the visitors were well set on 174 for two with Hafeez on 40 and Babar Azam on 12. But Azam fell shortly after which brought Shoaib Malik to the crease. The two added 89 from ten overs before Hafeez fell 88 from 92 balls to give Nurse his third wicket. His innings was decorated with six fours and three sixes.
Malik kept the innings going before being caught at long-off for 53 from 36 deliveries. He laced six fours and clobbered two sixes which aided in Pakistan reaching 308 for 5. Nurse, grabbed four for 62 from 10 overs while Holder got 1 for 58.
The home side in their reply lost Walton (7) early with the score on 23 for in the fifth over. Evin Lewis and Kieran Powell, though, took the score to 49 for one after 10 overs.
Lewis, in particular, who is in good touch, effortlessly flicked pacer Hasan Ali over mid-wicket for six while crashing Wahab Riaz through point for four to signal his positive intent.
Pakistan pegged things back with Hafeez and Malik combined for eight overs which only cost 22 runs, leaving Windies on 67 for 1 after the 16th over.
It was slow going for the home side as Pakistani spinners bowled well in tandem to keep the Caribbean boys well below the scoring rate so much so that the pressure got to Lewis and he was bowled by Hafeez for 47 trying to cut a ball off his stumps. His innings lasted 63 balls and included three fours and two sixes.
West Indies were struggling at the halfway stage on 107 for 2, still, need a mammoth 202 runs from the latter half of the innings.
Shai Hope, started to open up and smashed Malik over long off in the 38th over to carry the score to 136 for two while Powell on the other hand, who was well set at that point, brought up his 50, his first after his ODI hiatus, by pulling Amir over mid-wicket for four to push the score to 144 for two at the end of the 30th over. He was, however, deceived by a Riaz slower ball which he chipped to mid-on to fall for 61 to leave West Indies on 156 for three in the 33rd, still needing another 152 runs to win.
Jason Mohammed then entered the equation and played a number of expansive shots, almost out of character as he was brutal on the Pakistani fast bowlers.
He joined forces with Nurse at 259 for six and it was carnage from that point with the two muscling the Caribbean side to 309 – 4 in 49 overs.
Player of the Match Mohammed ended on 91 from 58 deliveries in which he hacked 11 fours and smashed three sixes while Nurse contributed 34 from 15 balls. His innings included five fours and solitary six. Mohammed Amir two for 59 and Shadab Khan Two for 52, were the main wicket takers for the visitors.