WI v Pak, 2nd ODI Review: Babar Azam, Hasan lead Pakistan to series-leveling win
Pakistan squared up the series with an impressive all-round performance as they beat the home side by 75 runs.
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Pakistan made a strong statement as they fought their way back in the series after a shock defeat in the first ODI. They shot West Indies out for 208 to win the second ODI by 74 runs in Guyana. A century from Babar Azam and a five-wicket haul by Hasan Ali were the bright shining lights for Pakistan.
Babar Azam is making a habit of scoring centuries. This was his fifth one of his career and he remained unbeaten on 125. He played the anchor to Pakistan’s innings helping them to post a reasonable total of 282. Azam built a crucial partnership with Hafeez, a third wicket stand of 69, which helped Pakistan recover from the early loss of Ahmed Shahzad (5) and Kamran Akmal (21). Hafeez’s departure meant that Pakistan were again behind in the game as his wicket along with Shoaib Malik’s in quick succession left Pakistan at a precarious 128/4 in 29 overs. Sarfaraz tried to give the innings a push forward with his run-a-ball 26, but his departure pegged Pakistan back just as they were looking to break free. Imad Wasim and Azam joined forces and batted till the closure of the Pakistani innings as they added 99 runs in 68 balls. Wasim remained unbeaten for 43 off 35 balls which included 2 sixes. Azam faced 132 balls in his knock and struck 7 fours and 3 maximums. Shannon Gabriel was the pick of the bowler returning with 2/50.
West Indies were off to the worst possible start to their chase losing wickets upfront. Pakistan fast bowlers were too hot to handle for them as Amir, Junaid and Hasan got wickets in their first spells. When Hasan struck for the second time, a successful review for lbw which the umpire turned down, West Indies were reeling at 51/4. Jason Mohammed, last match’s hero, took strike and was the last hope for the home side. Hafeez, with some brilliance behind the stumps from Sarfaraz, then foxed Mohammed as he gloved an attempted sweep to be caught smartly by the keeper. With him, the last hope of West Indies was gone too as half of the West Indies side was already back in the hut with just 56 runs on the board.
Holder ignited some hopes of a comeback. He added 58 runs for the 7th wicket with Nurse with the latter being the main contributor (44) in the partnership. Nurse batted beautifully but fell prey to Hasan just as West Indies started believing. After his departure, it was a question of how far the West Indies tail will wag. Holder did well to complete his 3rd ODI half-century. The middle overs of the innings saw some steady bowling by Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim both of whom bowled economically. With West Indies 8 down, Hasan was called up again to run through the tail, and so he did, striking twice in his second over of the spell to finish the game for Pakistan. he finished with career-best figures of 5/38.
Pakistan has shown character to fight back in the series. Babar Azam has been sensational for them at the top of the order for 2 years now. Pressure will be felt on the openers: Akmal and Shehzad, in the third and deciding ODI.
West Indies lost a terrific chance of finishing the series at Guyana. Pakistan’s win has made the series interesting. It was a clinical performance by the Pakistan bowlers. They will be looking to find ways of scoring more freely in the middle overs. Azam and Wasim won’t come to the rescue everyday nor will the opposition team collapse in chase of 283 everyday.
Both sides will be looking to give their all in the deciding ODI at the same venue on Tuesday. West Indies needs a series win to improve their ranking in order to better their chances of qualifying for the 2019 50-over World Cup.
Pakistan 282/5 (50) | Babar Azam 125* (132) | Shannon Gabriel 2/50 (10)
West Indies 208/10 (44.5) | Jason Holder 68 (87) | Hasan Ali 5/38 (8.5)