Pakistan are already one-up in the series    AFP
Pakistan are already one-up in the series AFP

After handing a sound thrashing to hosts West Indies in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) of the four-match series, a buoyant Pakistan will look to take unassailable lead in the series when the two teams meet in the second T20I at Port of Spain on Thursday. They have the momentum their way, and will have to play uncharacteristically to lose the game. Yes, sadly, that is how things are with West Indies cricket at the moment. Pakistan players carried the positives of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2 into the first game of this series, while West Indies continued their freefall after the ODI series loss against England.

The first match, which Pakistan won convincingly by 6 wickets, had plenty of intriguing battles. 18-year-old debutant Shadab Khan made the Caribbean batsmen dance to his tunes, Carlos Brathwaite used his long handle to good effect in the death overs, and Shoaib Malik played a controlled innings against the West Indian bowlers. The second game will have plenty of battles as well. Let us take a look at them.

Shadab Khan vs the West Indian top order: The 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab was the find of PSL 2. Though it was unlikely that Pakistan would field him in the first T20I, the fact that the West Indian batsmen had little idea about his skills worked wonders for him. He played the match, and the mystery factor played on the West Indian batsmen s minds. His googlies were simply too good for the opponents, who were left bamboozled. The likes of Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton and Sunil Narine fell to his accurate bowling, while the others had no answer to his leg-breaks and googlies. Shadab ended the match with figures of 4-0-7-3 best by a T20I debutant. The second match will once again present a clash between him and the West Indian top order, which will look to play him better.

Wahab Riaz vs Carlos Brathwaite: When these two experienced campaigners came against each other in the first game, Brathwaite had the last laugh. He faced 8 balls being bowled by Wahab and smacked 21 runs off them, including two sixes and as many fours. The next match will witness a clash of egos between these two players, who would look to outsmart each other.

Kamran Akmal vs Samuel Badree: Kamran Akmal was recalled to the national team after a stupendous run in the PSL 2. Opening the innings, he showed glimpse of the rich vein of form he has been in, dealing with Samuel Badree at ease. He hit the former No. 1 T20I bowler for a four and a six in an over before falling in to the trap, as Badree got him caught at deep mid-wicket, thus having the last laugh. Match No. 2 will once again pit these two against each other. It will be interesting to see who emerges victorious this time around.

Sunil Narine vs Shoaib Malik: Narine bowled tight lines in the first T20I and succeeded in containing the opposition batsmen. However, if he could have succeeded in removing Malik early, things could have been different for West Indies. The hosts would expect more from their strike bowler and want him to get wickets in the second T20I, as many as he could, but importantly, that of Malik.