West Indies v Pakistan, 1st T20I Review: Shadab Khan's herculean spell derails Windies
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When the West Indies had played Pakistan in the T20I series last year in the UAE, they had to endure an embarrassing 0-3 whitewash. The action had now moved on to the Caribbean Islands. With the change in venues, the Windies side hoped for a turn of fortunes. The stage was set at Barbados for the first T20I of the 4-match series. It was the visiting Pakistani side that won the toss and opted to bowl first on the day.
Some big names like Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez made their comebacks in the match. Young all-rounder Shadab Khan made his debut for the men in green. The West Indies, on the other hand, saw the big names of Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard walk back in the side as well.
In walked the West Indies openers Evin Lewis and Chadwick Walton. Both batsmen had a tough start against Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez, who shared the new ball up front. With spinners bowling the first couple of overs, the hosts did not look very comfortable.
Lewis perished in his attempt to take non-existent run as he was run out by Shehzad on 10 (10) in the third over. Marlon Samuels was the new man in at the crease. He found it tough in the middle as well and had a struggling time with the bat. The hosts could only score 34 runs in the powerplay and the runs were certainly hard to come by.
Samuels’ struggle at the middle ended when Imad Wasim got him lbw in the 7th over on 7 (14). An over later, Shadab Khan was introduced to the attack. The young all-rounder wreaked havoc with the ball as he struck on the very second delivery. He got rid of Walton (18) and Lendl Simmons (1) in his very first over. In his next over, he accounted for the dismissal of Sunil Narine (1).
Meanwhile, Kieron Pollard watched the wickets fall like ten pins from the other end. Rovman Powell, the hard-hitting batsman, departed cheaply too as Hasan Ali got among the wickets. His departure brought skipper Carlos Brathwaite to the crease with Windies reeling on 49/6 in 10.5 overs.
Pollard looked utterly confused at the crease as he toiled hard for 27 balls to get 14 runs to his name. It was Wahab Riaz who dismissed him in the 17th over. Brathwaite was joined by Jason Holder. It was a saving grace knock from the skipper that helped the hosts post a decent target on the board. Brathwaite hit an unbeaten 34 off 27 deliveries with 2 fours and as many sixes to take West Indies to 111/8 in their 20 overs.
The target for Pakistan was not a very daunting one and the in-form batters Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad walked in to begin the run chase. Samuel Badree kept things tight up front as the runs were not that easy to come by for the visitors either. Jason Holder struck first blood for Windies when he dismissed Shehzad on a run-a-ball 13 in the 5th over. Babar Azam came in at number 3 to join Kamran at the middle.
Kamran’s stay was cut short by Badree in the 6th over. He scored 22 off 17 deliveries before heading back to the pavilion. Mohammad Hafeez last 12 deliveries for his 5 runs before being caught and bowled by Brathwaite in the 9th over. With 49/3 on the board in about 9 overs, the match could have gone either way. But it was the experience of Shoaib Malik, coupled with the grit of Babar Azam that held the fort for Pakistan.
Azam scored 29 off 30 balls before becoming Holder’s second wicket of the match. But by the time he was dismissed, the visitors were a few hits away from the win. Azam and Malik shared 46 run stand for the 4th wicket. An unbeaten 38 off 29 balls with 3 fours and a six helped Pakistan take a 1-0 lead in the series as they chased down the target with 6 wickets in hand and 17 balls to spare.
West Indies 111/8 in 20 overs (Brathwaite 34*, Walton 18, Shadab 3/7, Wasim 1/12)
Pakistan 115/4 in 17.1 overs (Malik 38*, Azam 29, Holder 2/27, Brathwaite 1/18)
Pakistan won by 6 wickets