Preview: Pakistan look to end series against Windies on winning note

Pakistani bowler Mohammad Hafeez (R) celebrates with captain Shahid Afridi at the Kensington Oval AFP

By Paul Mitchell

Guyana: May 5, 2011

Pakistan will be looking to give unshakeable proof that the West Indies were fortunate to gain a victory in their One-day International series, when the final match is contested on Thursday at the Guyana National Stadium.

The Pakistanis were upstaged by rain and a blistering innings from Lendl Simmons to lose the previous match last Monday at Kensington Oval by one run under the Duckworth-Lewis Method.

The visitors have an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series, following victories in the first three matches, but they will want to sign-off with a strong performance to knock West Indies back down a few notches, particularly with the two-Test series looming.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said that though the conditions they contested the previous match were difficult, his side should have still performed much better. “We started on a difficult pitch, but the way Mohammad Hafeez batted, we thought we would have scored 270 to 275,” he said.

“But I think we missed that chance, and we did not bat well in the end. It was disappointing because we missed an opportunity to score a big total, and we have to do much better, and show more consistency in the future.”

Afridi said though the Pakistanis wanted to give some of the less experienced players an opportunity to play, he still felt that they were good enough to help the side finish the series on top.

“I am pretty happy with our boys, and the way they have played in this series, so I think we can be proud,” he said. “We set a total in the previous game, and in the conditions, and with our attack, I felt it was a decent target, but the weather played a role, and we lost.”

West Indies Darren Sammy was relieved to get a victory over a Test-playing nation other than Bangladesh for the first time in two years, but he is looking forward to the final match, and hoped there are no interruptions to prove that the hosts are the genuine article.

“It has been a long time since we have beaten a top side, but we took the opportunity, and came through in the end,” he said. “We needed that victory, and it was good to win against a top side, and the guys will take the positives from this game, and we will look to take confidence from it, and put it into play here.”

As always, the two teams will keep their gazes fixed to the skies to see if the weather will allow them to achieve their goals. The forecast for Thursday indicated scattered thunderstorms with a 60 percent chance of rain.

But the Guyana National Stadium, a gift from India to the Guyanese people, boasts a hi-tech drainage system under the surface. Like many of the international grounds in the Caribbean now, it was installed when the facility was constructed ahead of the 2007 World Cup, which was staged in the region.

Teams:

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

Pakistan (Probable):Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Usman Salahuddin, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi (c), Mohammad Salman, Tanveer Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal.

Umpries: Asoka De Silva (Sri Lanka), Norman Malcolm (West Indies)


Time: 9.30 local (13.30 GMT)

AFP