The hosts West Indies are off to a grand start in front of their home crowd as they beat Pakistan comprehensively at Kingston. The inaugural match of the 9th World Cup saw the homeside playing as a unit to make short work of a Pakistani challenge. Inzamam’s team fell short by 54 runs on a sporting track at the Sabina Park in the Group D match.
Windies are put into bat first…
Inzamam had rightly called ‘heads’ to put Windies to bat first. In the 3rd over, Chris Gayle departed as he was forced to nick a seaming delivery around the offstump. Umar Gul was the bowler giving this big break and he continued to put the batsmen on the backfoot and was well supported by Rana Naved. Chanderpaul had to go in a shell and the runs dried off. Sarwan after getting dropped in the very first ball he had faced was quick in getting going to put some runs on the board. The two Guyanese had put up a fifty-run partnership and soon Rao Iftikhar Anjum, the one change bowler had got Chanderpaul steering him into the safe hands of Kamran Akmal. Chanderpaul’s stay in the middle was a painfully slow one with his 19 coming from 63 balls with one boundary that was only because of a needless overthrow from Danish Kaneria. Iftikhar Anjum was bowling splendidly well, he was getting the extra nip off the surface and soon Ramnaresh Sarwan lost his cool and perished driving on the up to be caught by the lone slip fielder. Windies were in a spot of bother at 77 for 3 in the 24th over with Sarwan falling at a personal score of 49 which had come in 65 balls with 9 fours.
Skipper Brian Lara walked in at no.5 to join Marlon Samuels who had decided to break the shackles with a straight six which was followed with a smacking shot over covers for a boundary off Iftikhar. Samuels was in the counter attack mode and Inzamam and his team weren’t prepared for such an attack at this stage. This allowed Brian Lara as well to settle down and Danish Kaneria who was bowling well was taken to the cleaners by both Lara and Samuels. Kaneria was hit out of the attack leaving Inzamam to rely on the part time off spin of Hafeez and Malik. West Indies got themselves a perfect launching pad in the slog overs but just when Lara was trying to break free, Hafeez came up with a vital breakthrough. Lara was caught off an underneath edge to a predetermined sweep shot with Hafeez getting him out for 37 that had come in 56 balls with 3 fours and a six. The icing on the cake came in Hafeez’s next over when Marlon Samuels had mishit his pull shot towards long on to have West Indies at 181 for 5 after 44 overs. It was a 13th ODI fifty for the Jamaican batsman and his 63 had come in 70 balls with 5 fours and three sixes. His partnership with Lara was a crucial one which was worth 91 runs.
A quick fire 32 from just 15 balls from Dwayne Smith had seen West Indies end up at 241 for 9. The last delivery of the innings was pulled away to long on for a six by the no.11 batsman, Corey Collymore. Umar Gul was the most outstanding bowler but Inzy had utilized him for only 9 overs which had seen him take 2 for 38. Iftikhar Anjum was the unsung hero with 3 for 44 in 10 overs and had also bowled three maidens.
A disciplined bowling pays dividends for the home team…
Imran Nazir came out to bat along with Hafeez and had smashed the second ball of the innings for a terrific six over point with a square cut off Daren Powell. But the Jamaican fast bowler then bowled a full length outswinger which had induced a false drive from Nazir in the next delivery and with that Pak were off to a bad start. Jerome Taylor bowling at a good pace of around 140kmph bounced out Younis Khan in the 4th over to have Pak reduced to 17 for 2. With two quick wickets down, the two batsmen – Hafeez and Yousuf were put onto the backfoot by the sheer pace and bounce from both Powell and Taylor. Hafeez soon ran out of patience to drag a big shot to mid on leaving Pak at 39 for 3 in the 11th over.
The experienced duo of Yousuf and Inzamam then had to repair the damage and they were doing it at their own sweet time. Inzamam soon threatened to increase the tempo with some pull shots and slowly but steadily Pak were getting back into the match. But the required run rate wasn’t going to stop in climbing up and soon got Yousuf under pressure. Yousuf was done in by the extra bounce that even the medium pacer Dwayne Smith had generated which resulted in an outside edge behind the stumps. Yousuf made 37 from 72 with just one boundary with his partnership with Inzy being 60 runs. Shoaib Malik came into the middle with his side requiring close to 7.00 runs per over! The big breakthrough then came from Dwayne Smith in the 33rd over when Inzamam was struck right in front of the stumps to a sharp inswinger; Inzamam fell after scoring a 65-ball 36 which had four boundaries. Pak were almost out of the equation when Kamran Akmal slashed Smith in the very next ball straight to Bravo at gully and Pakistan were down and out at 116 for 6. They were eventually bundled out for 187 in 47.2 overs.
Shoaib Malik was the lone man fighting out and was also the last man dismissed. Before he got out, Malik had played some beautiful lofted shots that helped him get his 24th fifty. He was the top scorer for Pakistan with his 62 coming in 54 balls with a dozen fours and a six. Like Smith, Bravo had also picked up three wickets, with two of them coming in consecutive deliveries. One of them was a brilliant one handed catch to his left to dismiss Umar Gul. Dwayne Smith was the star of the day and was also the man of the match for his rapid 32 which was followed with 3 for 36 from 10 overs. All the five pacers had bowled superbly to keep the scoring rate down. Brian Lara didn’t even have to use his spinning options that of Gayle and Samuels thanks to the excellent show by the pacers. A victory of 54 runs was a big one on a track that helped the medium pacers quite considerably.