Pakistan were dismissed for a modest score of 170 against West Indies in the Group B encounter at the Oval despite their captain Misbah-ul-Haq‘s unbeaten 96.
West Indies won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat. The start was superb for them. Kemar Roach vindicated captain Dwayne Bravo’s decision of fielding by removing three quick wickets. The first wicket was in the first over when Imran Farhat played one away from the body and was caught at second-slip. He was dismissed for just two.
Roach had a spring in his stride and he got Mohammad Hafeez, who was bowled playing across the line to a straight delivery. Hafeez made four. Asad Shafiq batting at No. 4 then tried to break free when he upper cut Roach in the seventh over, straight in the hands of Ravi Rampaul at third-man.
West Indies had a chance to peg Pakistan further back when Misbah-ul-Haq under-edged and it looked like Denesh Ramdin had taken a regulation catch. West Indies were celebrating but Misbah did not budge. Replays suggested that Ramdin had floored the catch. In fact as per the laws Ramdin had to be in total control of the catch, which he was not. Pakistan would have been reeling at 17 for four. Misbah would have been out for a duck.
Misbah and opener Nasir Jamshed then took up the repair work and slowly forged an alliance. They were helped by the fact that part-time bowlers Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard came on to bowl trying to finish the fifth bowler’s quota.
The Pakistani duo put on 90 for the fourth wicket. Just when things looked good for Pakistan, Narine weaved his magic on Pakistan. He first got Jamshed for 50, attempting an inside-out shot against Narine. The ball spun a bit more and Jamshed’s shot couldn’t beat Rampaul, who was standing at long-off. In the same over, Shoaib Malik was out for a golden duck when he was hoodwinked by a conventional off-spin that dipped on the batsman. He was taken by Dwayne Bravo at short mid-wicket.
Kamran Akmal was dismissed by Narine in his next over [32nd of the innings]. Akmal tried to cut Narine off his carrom ball which he failed to read. The ball took his bottom-edge and Ramdin took a sharp chance.
Misbah was waging a lone battle. He got some support from Wahab Riaz. The duo put on 18 but the partnership ended in an unfortunate manner. Misbah’s hit was ricocheted off Dwayne Bravo’s hand and Riaz was short of his ground. Saeed Ajmal, the next man, ran for a non-existential run and another needless run-out put Pakistan in a quandary.
Junaid Khan was bamboozled by Dwayne Bravo’s slower delivery. Junaid tried to go hit a slog-sweep off it but top-edged it to Chris Gayle standing at first-slip. Gayle extended his right hand and jumped to take a fantastic catch.
After the fall of ninth wicket Misbah took the onus of facing maximum deliveries on himself. Mohammad Irfan supported Misbah well. At times Irfan took a single off the first ball and got Misbah on strike. West Indies were waiting for Misbah to commit an error, placing the fielders deep. Misbah took calculated risks. He welcomed Rampaul with a six over long-off. He even hit mysterious Narine over long-on for yet another six, his third of the innings.
Misbah remained unbeaten on 96 as Irfan failed to negotiate the final ball of the 48th over. Irfan was dismissed for two when he failed to negotiate Rampaul’s bouncer. He was caught at short-leg. The duo added 32 for the final wicket.
Earlier, West Indies dropped Darren Sammy and played Rampaul ahead of him. Pakistan fielded three left-arm pacers: Junaid, Mohammad Irfan and Riaz. Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner missed out. Saeed Ajmal is the lone specialist spinner in the line-up.
Pakistan 170 in 48 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 96* , Nasir Jamshed 50; Kemar Roach 3 for 28, Sunil Narine 3 for 34) vs West Indies.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)