Preview: Pakistan look to carry on the domination against Windies

Pakistan will look to stay on track for a series sweep when they face the West Indies in the fourth one-day international on Monday at Kensington Oval but skipper Shahid Afridi, pictured, has warned his team over complacency. AFP

By Paul Mitchell

Bridgetown: May 2, 2011

Pakistan will look to stay on track for a series sweep when they face West Indies in the fourth one-day international on Monday at Kensington Oval but skipper Shahid Afridi has warned his team over complacency.

The Pakistanis hold an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, following a three-wicket victory last Thursday at the same venue in easily the most competitive match of the series.

The visitors won the first two ODIs at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in the neighbouring island of St. Lucia by the handsome margins of eight wickets and seven wickets respectively before they almost stumbled in the third match.

Pakistan have simply allowed West Indies first strike in each match, and used their spin bowling triumvirate of Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and captain Shahid Afridi to tie down the home team batsmen for low totals before undertaking relatively easy chases.

This formula almost backfired on the Pakistanis in the previous match, leading Afridi to warn his side that they need to avoid complacency in the remaining matches.

Chasing a modest 172 for victory from a rain-reduced allocation of 45 overs, the visitors were left reeling on 49 for four, following a new-ball blitz from Ravi Rampaul, and the visitors required a steady, unbeaten 62 from Misbah-ul-Haq to complete the job, after leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo threatened to wreak late havoc.

“There are still some problems with out batting, and I’m sure the management and coaches will come at us hard in the meetings,” said Afridi. “The way the boys delivered in the series was good, but the batsmen need to spend some time in the middle. We all know we made mistakes.”

West Indies have moved to ease the pressure, recalling Ramnaresh Sarwan to their squad. Sarwan was one of three senior batsmen dropped from the squad for the first three matches following the World Cup.

But the shoddy batting of their replacements — including left-handed opener Devon Smith, who makes way for Sarwan, following three lbw dismissals for low scores to the off-spin of Hafeez — have prompted the selectors to boost the experience in the side.

Sarwan has played 166 ODIs since his debut 11 years ago, but he has scored only one hundred in the last five years — against Ireland — and managed just 155 runs at 25.83 during the World Cup.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy recognised that his side has a serious problem, and hoped they could turn things around in the remaining matches, particularly ahead of the two Tests that follow the ODI series.

“We as a batting unit, myself included, have to take more responsibility like Bishoo does with the ball,” he said. “It’s about getting the formula right. We have had good starts, but we haven’t capitalised on them. The way forward is to gain experience. This group is not short on talent, we need to play and get more consistency.”

Pakistan have now won their last eight ODIs against West Indies spread over the last four years.


West Indies (Probable): Lendl Simmons (wk), Devon Smith, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy (c), Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul, Devendra Bishoo.

Pakistan (Probable): Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi (c), Mohammad Salman, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal.

Umpires: Asoka De Silva (Sri Lanka), Peter Nero (West Indies)

Time: 9:30 local (13:30 GMT)