December 14, 2021

Improved West Indies run out of luck to concede T20I series


By Ehsan Qureshi at National Stadium, Karachi 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Unlike the first outing of the tour when they were completely outplayed by the hosts the other day at the same venue, the visiting West Indians came up with much improved performance in the second T20 International but lost the game, and with it the three-match series against Pakistan, at the National Stadium, Karachi, on December 14.

On any other day, or night, the West Indies could have emerged triumphant from the commanding situations they were during the match but they let the initiative slip at key moments to deprive themselves from a possible series leveling win. They lost by nine runs instead, while chasing a target of 173, to give Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead. 

As the visiting skipper Nicholas Pooran conceded in the presentation ceremony they made silly mistakes and he also held himself accountable for the chaos in the middle when his team was in the driving seat. 

"Tough one for us. Big improvement from yesterday. Felt like we lost here due to silly mistakes. Irresponsible from myself too. We tried our best to execute plans. It's our responsibility to carry the game. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes. It is an experience for us all, and very proud of how all these guys have performed," he remarked. 

The home captain Babar Azam didn’t look perturbed as his outfit has been fortunate enough to come out of such situations frequently since the resurgence witnessed during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Someone has been doing the job, no matter how challenging or precarious the circumstances had been in the UAE or then in Bangladesh where Pakistan triumphed across formats. It was the turn of Shadab Khan to come good with bat and ball to win the day for his team this time round. 

"The finish from Shadab with the bat was very good. Bowlers did well too, particularly Shaheen, and it was a team effort. The idea is to set a target and defend, and play as per the conditions and the wicket. There is grip for the spinners in the second innings, which is why we wanted to bat first,” the winning captain observed. 

"When my batting comes, it usually is in the death overs so I practice accordingly. I planned by batting as per the field. And with the ball, it wasn't gripping a lot. I had good rhythm, and I just tried to bowl in the good areas," Shadab stated after being adjudged Man of the Match for his all-round performance. 

Losing the toss, the West Indies put up a far better performance in bowling department. They had restricted Pakistan to 127 for six after 17 overs despite opener Muhammad Rizwan’s 30-ball 38 with containing a six and four boundaries. Haider Ali made steady 31 off 34 balls with four hits to the fence while Iftikhar Ahmed hoisted a couple of sixes in his 18-ball knock of 32. Asif Ali, the six-hitting wonder, failed once again. 

It was left to vice-captain Shadab to retrieve the situation. He smashed a delightful unbeaten 28 off mere a dozen deliveries studded with three towering sixes as the Pakistan batters went on rampage mustering 45 runs in last three overs to their eventual total to 172. 

Odean Smith was the most successful West Indian bowler with the figures of 2 for 24 but left-arm spinner Akeal Husein again produced a tight spell of 1-16 off four overs. 

Opener Brandon King’s explosive 43-ball 67 containing three sixes and six fours laid very strong platform for the West Indies to overhaul the home total but despite being only two wickets down at the halfway stage when they were ahead of the clock, the momentum was lost in strange circumstances and eventually they were beaten in the match they could have won leisurely.

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