West Indies vs Pakistan, 3rd ODI – Five Tracking Points

West Indies vs Pakistan, 3rd ODI – Five Tracking Points

A 113-run partnership between Hafeez and Malik helped Pakistan reach their target of 234 and subsequently win the series 2-1

Pakistan
Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan celebrates winning the 3rd and final ODI. (Photo by
RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan came from behind to win the ODI series 2-1 by an empathic 6 wicket win in the third and final ODI against the West Indies at Guyana. Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez ensured that the initial jitters did not result in a batting collapse as the duo stitched together a match-winning partnership of 113 runs to end the chase of 234 with 41 balls to spare.

Pakistan’s bowlers did an amazing job to restrict the West Indies score to 233. Imad Wasim and Mohammed Hafeez backed up the good job done by the fast bowers. The duo spinners made sure that the run-scoring was difficult in the middle overs as they gave away 43 runs in 17 overs collectively. Shadab Khan was a touch expensive in this game but picked up two wickets, both at crucial junctures just as West Indies threatened to rebuild the innings.

Let us see the five tracking points of the game which shaped the game as it happened:

1. Pakistan bowlers kept it tight in the begging

Skipper Jason Holder called it right at the toss and decided to make first use of the wicket. His decision back fired as West Indies’ top order struggled to get going against a disciplined bowling display by Pakistan. In an attempt to break free after a sedated start, Evin Lewis pulled a harmless short delivery straight into the hands of Hafeez at deep square leg.

The other opener, Chadwick Walton, followed suit in the next over as he played one back on to his stumps off the last match’s hero Hasan Ali. West Indies were in trouble with both the openers gone in a space of 11 balls. The problem was they had got starts and should have gone on to make them count.

2. Shai Hope and Jason Mohammed give West Indies hope

The departure of Kieran Powell in the 19th over got wicket-keeper batsman Shai Hope and the first ODI’s hero Jason Mohammed to the crease. Things could have gone from bad to worse but these two did the repair job for the home side. They added 101 runs for the fourth wicket which allowed West Indies bowlers something to bowl at.

Both batsmen complimented each other. Hope was steadier in approach while Jason was more enterprising. Jason got to his second fifty of the series off just 59 balls and the stage was set for him to go after the bowling. He smacked two consecutive fours to Junaid Khan but lost his wicket in the same over and any hopes of a West Indies onslaught also departed with Jason Mohammed.

3. West Indies bowlers spiced up things in Pakistan chase

Chasing a modest 234, Pakistan’s innings was off to the worst possible start. Shannon Gabriel sent the opener Kamran Akmal back to the pavilion off the first delivery of the innings. Pakistan stumbled further when they lost the wicket of the other opener Shehzad to Holder in the 6th over.Pakistan’s hope relied on last match centurion Babar Azam but even he made the long walk back to the changing room as he was castled by Gabriel to leave Pakistan in tatters at 36/3. Still, 198 runs adrift, it looked like Pakistan are going to make a mess of a fairly straightforward chase.

Pakistan’s hope relied on last match centurion Babar Azam but even he made the long walk back to the changing room as he was castled by Gabriel to leave Pakistan in tatters at 36/3. Still, 198 runs adrift, it looked like Pakistan are going to make a mess of a fairly straightforward chase.

4. Hafeez and Malik resurrect the innings

Experience is so much critical in such situations and Pakistan thankfully had a lot of it between Malik and Hafeez. The latter was fresh from a neat 88 he scored in the first ODI and took the confidence in this virtual final. Hafeez was positive from the word go as he didn’t want to allow the home team to dictate terms. Malik, on the other hand, was smart enough to play second fiddle to Hafeez.

In an attempt to get rid of the partnership, Holder called back Gabriel in the 23rd over. This was the turning point of the chase as Hafeez smacked 13 runs of that over, which included a six and a four. Hafeez was shrewd in his approach. He wanted to fight fire with fire. The attack on Gabriel demoralized the West Indies and Holder wasn’t left with many options. Malik contributed 45 runs in the 113-run partnership which was as vital as Hafeez’s contribution. Hafeez was finally out for 81 but not before he had injected momentum into the chase.

5. Malik takes center-stage

Shoaib Malik made sure that Hafeez’s contribution doesn’t go to waste as he stepped up post his dismissal. Pakistan still needed to get 84 runs to win and complacency was the last thing they wanted. He reached his half-century off 68 balls and his body language suggested that there is still work to do. The veteran of 247 ODI’s showed his class and mixed attack with the defense to grind the home side’s bowling.

He had his skipper Sarfaraz for a company who was also clinical about his approach. Malik went about his innings accumulating runs and stroked the odd boundary every now and again. It was Gabriel’s final over when Malik decided to cut loose. He hit consecutive boundaries, both down the ground, which helped him get into the nineties. With 5 needed to win, Malik was batting on 95 and smacked Holder for a six to bring up his 9th ODI hundred. It was as clinical as it can get.

The experience helped Pakistan close down a tricky chase and ultimately win the series 2-1. The visiting team won both the limited overs series and the 3-match Test series is scheduled to start at Jamaica on April 22.