December 16, 2021

Different script but identical result as Pakistan sweep WI 3-0


By Ehsan Qureshi at National Stadium, Karachi 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Skipper Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan powered Pakistan to seven-wicket victory over the West Indies to complete the expected 3-0 clean-sweep in T20 series which concluded on December 16.

The match was jeopardized when three more West Indian cricketers, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, and Justin Greaves tested positive for Covid-19, but it was decided to go ahead with the match and complete the T20 series. 

The tourists were left to field a severely depleted side because they had had already lost Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers, also due to Covid-19, at the start of the tour while Devon Thomas was ruled out after a finger injury. It went to their credit to have agreed to play the third game without the availability of seven players. 

While the West Indians showed grace by staying on even with marginal resources at their disposal, the home side continued to enjoy with the rub of the green going their way until the very end. That Pakistan completed the series whitewash with the help of a dropped catch was another reflection of lady luck keeping their company all the way. 

Chasing a record total of 208 at the National Stadium, Karachi, the start of Pakistan innings was a dramatic one. Rizwan was declared out leg-before on the very first ball but the decision of on-field umpire was reversed following a review and the West Indies could not break the opening partnership until the 16th over by which time 158 runs had already been scored. 

The hosts rode their luck to overhaul the total for the loss of only three wickets with seven balls to spare. It was their sixth successive T20 win over the West Indies in Pakistan. They had also swept them by the identical 3-0 scoreline in 2018. Pakistan ended the year 2021 year their 20th T20 win. 

Babar, who was dismissed cheaply in the earlier two matches, returned to top form with another sterling knock. He made 79 off 53 balls with nine sizzling fours and two sixes. The openers put on 158 off 91 balls for the first wicket. Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman continued to attack the bowlers the requirement was down to 24 off 16 balls when the former fell after scoring 87 off 45 balls with the help of three sixes and 10 fours. 
Asif Ali’s unbroken 21 off seven balls ensured that the match didn’t go into the final over. Rovman Powell helped his cause by dropping him in the deep off Romario Shepherd and that was it. 

As in the previous game, the young West Indian side showed flashes of brilliance but choked at key moments. They must have felt happy at having posted a competitive total of 207 for three which was their best at the ground which obviously proved inadequate in the end. 

Captain Nichollas Pooran, Samrah Brooks and Brandon King produced the best batting display of the tour. The top three West Indian batters blasted no less than a dozen sixes to demonstrate their big hitting prowess. 

Pooran batted fearlessly while hammering 64 off 37 balls with the help of half a dozen sixes and two fours. Brooks mustered 49 off 31 balls, spiced with four sixes and two fours while King cracked 21-ball 43 with seven fours and brace of sixes. Curiously, though, Darren Bravo didn’t hit any six in his unbeaten 34 off 27 balls which denied the visitors some crucial runs in the death overs. 

King and Brooks had provided the West Indies a flying start of 66 in power play. Brooks was in a punishing mood as he lifted premier spinner Shadab Khan for three sixes in a row. The momentum was sustained by Pooran but Bravo, coming in at number four, remained unusually quiet and returned unbeaten without belting the bowlers. 

Muhammad Wasim (2-44) was the most successful home bowler but Shahnawaz Dahani delivered an economical spell of one for 24 in four overs. Fast bowler Muhammad Hasnain, making a comeback, was hit all over the park, conceding 48 runs in four overs without taking any wicket.

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Pak- WI ODI series postponed due to Covid-19


By Ehsan Qureshi at National Stadium, Karachi 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The series of three One-day International between Pakistan and the West Indies, which was set to be played at the National Stadium, Karachi, from Dec 18 to 22, has been postponed due to detection of more Covid-19 positive cases in the West Indian camp. 

The series has now been rescheduled for June 2022. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) jointly issued a statement after five more positive cases were reported in the West Indies camp following the PCR testing, raising the total number of positive cases to nine since their arrival in Karachi on December 9.

“On Thursday (December 16) morning and as part of the PCB COVID-19 Protocols, Rapid Antigen tests were conducted on the remaining 15 West Indies players and six player support personnel. All 21 members of the West Indies touring party returned negative test result. As such, Thursday’s T20 International (T20I) proceeded as planned,” the statement read. 

“However, taking into consideration both the teams’ welfare as well as limited resources in the West Indies side for the ODIs, it has been agreed that the series, which forms part of the ICC Men’s Cricket Word Cup Super League, will be postponed and rescheduled for early June 2022. This will provide the West Indies with an equal opportunity to field their best available players for the World Cup qualification matches,” it added. 

“The West Indies team members, who returned negative results following Wednesday’s PCR and today’s Rapid Antigen tests, will depart from Pakistan after tonight’s match. Those who have tested positive will complete their isolation in Karachi before their travel arrangements are finalized to allow them to rejoin their families in time for Christmas celebrations.” 

“Meanwhile, the Pakistan team members, all of whom have returned PCR negative after Wednesday’s tests, will also be leaving the Managed Event Environment after tonight’s third T20I. The CWI would like to thank the PCB for its excellent series arrangements and appreciates its support in rescheduling the ODI series in June 2022.”

The West Indians must have heaved a sigh of relief at the postponement of the ODI series because their already thin resources could have been tested further in the longer of two white-ball formats.

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