West Indies v Pakistan, 4th T20I - 5 Talking Points

Pakistan won the match by 7 wickets and sealed the series 3-1.

Pakistan’s cricketers pose with their winning trophy, (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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It was a rather predictable end to the 4-match T20I series between West Indies and Pakistan. The visitors were expected to dominate the series and they did exactly that. Right from the very first match, they proved to be the better side. The Windies, on the other hand, showed resilience in brief spells but could not capitalize on continuing the momentum. They, however, managed to put up an improved performance compared to their last face off against the same opposition.

They were drubbed 0-3 in the UAE last year and this time they managed to win one game riding on Evin Lewis’ heroics. At the end of it, it was Pakistan inflicting a serious 3-1 drubbing on the opposition in an away series. Coming to the fourth match, it was visiting skipper Sarfraz Ahmed who won the toss and opted to bowl first. It turned out to be yet another low scoring affair.

Despite a decent steady start by the West Indies top order, the scoreline never got the acceleration it needed. Chadwick Walton top scored with 40 and skipper Carlos Brathwaite remained unbeaten on 37 off 24 balls to see the hosts post 124/8 in their 20 overs. The Pakistani team had a flying start to their run chase with opener Ahmed Shehzad slamming a fifty. A gritty 38 from Babar Azam after that was all that the visitors needed to secure a 7 wicket win.

Here are the 5 Talking Points from the match:

1. West Indies steady ship despite early jolt

After having been put in to bat, the West Indies side had an early jitter in their innings. The hero of the previous match and the in-form batsman, Evin Lewis, was dismissed cheaply on the day. Lewis started off on the same note where he had left in the previous match by hitting a six first up. However, in the 3rd over of the innings, he was dismissed by Imad Wasim on 7.

It was veteran batsman Marlon Samuels who joined Chadwick Walton at the crease then. Both Walton and Samuels ensured that no more wickets fell in the powerplay and steadied the ship for the hosts. They managed to see the scoreline of 42 by the end of the first 6 overs. It was Walton, who was the chief accelerator in the innings. He struck 40 off 31 balls with 4 sixes and 2 fours to his name. On the other hand, Samuels hit a patient 22 off 21 balls with two sixes and a four.

2. Middle order slump; Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali dents the hosts

Just when things had started looking fine for the visitors, both set batsmen departed in quick succession. Chadwick Walton was dismissed by Shadab Khan in the 9th over of the game. He perished after getting a solid start of 21. Jason Mohammed was the new man in and he lasted 10 deliveries for his solitary run. Hasan Ali ran through his defenses. In walked Lendl Simmons, but only to last 4 deliveries to see his stumps crashing by Hasan Ali again.

Kieron Pollard’s quiet show continued as he, too, was bowled on 3 albeit by Rumman Raees. Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali proved to be the main reasons for the batting collapse as they returned with figures of 2/16 and 2/12 respectively. Hasan Ali bowled two maidens in his spell.

3. Carlos Brathwaite gets the saving grace

At 83/7 by the mid 15th over, the hosts were staring at a potential low score yet again. It was looking like their usual summer story where the entire batting line up walked back as a cavalcade after the dismissal of the set batsman. The middle order failed to make a mark in the match and that saw skipper Carlos Brathwaite walk in to the crease in the 13th over. Not much was expected of him either for the reason that he had been largely out of form this season and perhaps for even longer than that.

However, on the day, the newly appointed T20I skipper of the Caribbean side played a handy knock that gave the hosts some total to defend against an in-form Pakistan batting line up. Brathwaite provided the late blitz in the innings with his quick unbeaten 37 off 24 balls with 2 fours and as many sixes. His exploits saw the West Indies post 124/8 in their stipulated 20 overs. He batted like a lone ranger as wickets kept tumbling from the other end.

4. Pakistan get off to a steady start

While chasing a modest target of 120 odd runs, all that a team needs is a decent start. The visitors managed to get that kudos to a strong opening stand between Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal. Shehzad, in particular, took special liking to the Caribbean bowlers and belted them for 6 boundaries and a six. He struck a timely 53 off 45 balls to anchor the run chase.

He was well supported by Kamran Akmal, who nurdled along for his 21-ball 20 that included a six and three boundaries. Together, the two batsmen added 40 runs in 38 deliveries to give a steady start for the men in green. The stage was set for a cruising finish as Shehzad continued to rally along despite the loss of Akmal in the 7th over.

5. Azam, Shehzad seal the deal

It only looked mere formality for most part of the run chase as the West Indies bowlers posed little or absolutely no threat for the Pakistani batsmen. As many as 7 bowlers were used by Carlos Brathwaite but none could contain the run flow nor could they provide the breakthroughs. After the departure of Kamran Akmal in the 7th over, in-form batsman Babar Azam walked in to join Shehzad in the middle.

Shehzad soon brought up his half century and looked good for more. He could not carry for long though and departed on 53. Azam almost saw the side over the line with his 38 off 36 deliveries. But was dismissed when the visitors needed 10 more runs for the win. Pakistan eventually won the match and sealed the series 3-1.