A clinical performance from Pakistan helped them take the lead in the three-match T20I series as they thumped West Indies by 63 runs in Karachi on Monday (December 13). Riding on Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali's half-centuries in a 105-run second wicket stand, along with a cameo from Mohammad Nawaz, Pakistan posted 200/6. West Indies, in reply, could only manage 137 as Mohammad Wasim and Shadab Khan did the bulk of the damage with the ball.
Rizwan provides the platform
It was in the opening over when Akeal Hosein got one to spin away sharply from Babar Azam and found the edge to dismiss the Pakistan skipper for a duck. Fakhar Zaman was struggling to get a move on during the powerplay and eventually fell for a run-a-ball 10, deceived by Romario Shepherd's change of pace. But West Indies couldn't stop a busy Mohammad Rizwan at the other end. The wicketkeeper-batter scored regular boundaries and also ran hard between wickets, even pushing it quite close on a couple of occasions, as he helped Pakistan end the powerplay on 44. Haider Ali was slow to start off with but Rizwan ensured Pakistan's scoring rate did not dip. Hosein completed a fine spell, finishing with 1-19 at the end of the 11th over, with Haider Ali only managing 12 off 14 at that stage. But Rizwan's 34-ball fifty, which was also his 12th fifty-plus score this year, provided a strong platform for Pakistan.
Haider and Nawaz provide the flourishing end
Haider got going in the 12th over in which 20 came off Odean Smith, with the No. 4 scoring 14 of those runs including a couple of streaky fours to help Pakistan past 100. A slash over point for a six and a flay behind square on the off side gave Haider a six and a four off debutant Dominic Drakes while he got another four via an inside edge off Smith and cleared long-on to bring up a 28-ball half-century. Despite Rizwan, Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed falling in successive overs, Haider was finding the runs at the other end to help Pakistan make good progress. Odean Smith, meanwhile, finished with 1-56 from his four overs. Shepherd had 2-23 from his first three overs but he was taken apart in his final over by Mohammad Nawaz, who struck three fours and a six over long-off in the 19th over which yielded 21 runs. Drakes dismissed Haider in the final over but Nawaz cleared the fence for the second time in his innings and remained unbeaten on 30 off 10 to help Pakistan finish with a big total.
Were the West Indies really in the hunt?
By managing 50 in the powerplay, six more than Pakistan, West Indies were slightly ahead. But they had also lost an extra wicket at that stage compared to Pakistan, including the important scalp of skipper Nicholas Pooran. After Brandon King fell early to Nawaz, Pooran was looking in ominous touch, scoring a couple of sixes. But he was floored by an excellent yorker by Wasim, who also got the better of Devon Thomas with a full delivery. By the time the half-way stage of their innings was completed, they had lost half their side. Shai Hope, who had to shoulder the responsibility of keeping West Indies in the chase, was dismissed for a 26-ball 31, out leg-before to Shadab in the 10th over after missing a sweep. The other debutant in the game, Shamarh Brooks, was bowled in the same over for a 15-ball 5.
West Indies end up miles short
The chase was getting out of West Indies' grasp and while Rovman Powell (23 off 15) tried to revive the innings, Pakistan were always ahead with the regular wickets. Dominic Drakes fell to Haris Rauf while Shadab bagged his third when Powell mis-hit one and saw Nawaz hold on to a good catch in the deep. Wasim was struck for two fours and a six by Shepherd while Smith took the attack to Shaheen Afridi. But Wasim finished it off in the 19th over, having both Shepherd and Oshane Thomas bowled, to finish with his career-best figures in T20Is.
Brief scores: Pakistan 200/6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78, Haider Ali 68; Romario Shepherd 2-43) beat West Indies 137 in 19 overs (Shai Hope 31; Mohammad Wasim 4-40, Shadab Khan 3-17) by 63 runs.