Friday, May 6, 2011

West Indies cruise to 10 wicket win

West Indies v Pakistan, 5th ODI, Providence

Windies take pride in ten-wicket thumping

Dead-rubber syndrome struck with a vengeance in the fifth and final ODI at Providence, as Pakistan succumbed to a crushing ten-wicket victory at the hands of Lendl Simmons and Kirk Edwards, who built on a disciplined bowling effort on a slow and low surface to chase down a moderate target of 140 with more than 26 overs remaining. Simmons was once again the star of the batting display, as he followed up his vital half-century in Barbados with an unbeaten 77 from 73 balls, while Edwards played the supporting role to perfection with 40 not out from 71.
Darren Sammy and Shahid Afridi
The manner of West Indies' victory was every bit as emphatic as the margin, as they romped past a distracted Pakistan team to record their second crushing victory against Test opposition in the space of two months, having routed Bangladesh with more than 37 overs to spare during the recent World Cup. Soon after that performance, however, West Indies themselves were crushed by 10 wickets by Pakistan in their Dhaka quarter-final, and so, having already lost the series with two games to spare, there was only a limited amount of succour to be had. Still, a win is a win, and for a young and remodelled outfit, it could prove vital for forging confidence in the weeks and months to come.
For Pakistan, only Mohammad Hafeez produced a performance of any note. He continued his impressive run of form with an 83-ball 55, but the rest of the line-up succumbed meekly to a combination of seam and wrist-spin, as they were bundled out for 139 in 41.2 overs. Ravi Rampaul once again returned the outstanding analysis of 4 for 45, but it was the medium-pace of Darren Sammy, with 3 for 30 in ten overs, that carved open the top-order and laid the foundations for the win.
Hafeez, who made an excellent 121 from 138 balls in Pakistan's one-run D/L defeat in Barbados earlier in the week, took advantage of the chance to bat first by easing along to his 12th ODI half-century, and his fourth in the last six weeks. Having launched the innings with a first-ball pull for four off Rampaul, Hafeez added five more boundaries in reaching his half-century from 66 balls, but his was a lone hand as his colleagues came and went.
First to fall was Taufeeq Umar, back in the side after sitting out the fourth ODI. He made a laboured 3 from 12 balls before snicking a length ball from Rampaul through to Carlton Baugh behind the stumps.
Ahmed Shehzad proved to be even less fluent, as he ground along to 9 from 33 balls, including a solitary glanced boundary off the legspinner Anthony Martin, who took the new ball in his second ODI appearance. Sammy, however, double-bluffed him by calling the keeper up to the stumps and immediately sending down a bouncer. Shehzad took a wild swing, but under-edged the shot onto his stumps.
At 48 for 2 it was already proving to be a one-man show, and Pakistan's scorecard got even more lop-sided when Usman Salahuddin was nailed lbw on the sweep by Bishoo for 8, albeit to a shocker of a decision as the ball pitched way outside leg. One over later, Misbah-ul-Haq failed for the second match in succession, as Sammy tailed a wicked inswinger into his back pad, and this time there was little doubt about the lbw.
Umar Akmal, restored to the team after a break in Barbados, reinvigorated the scoring with a towering swipe for six over long-off, but when Hafeez under-edged a cut onto his own stumps to hand Sammy his third wicket, the innings was in freefall at 93 for 5. Umar added one more boundary in a 27-ball 24 before falling in a similar fashion, dragging on to Rampaul as he attempted a glide to third man.
Shahid Afridi has found some tame ways to get out in recent times, but he could do nothing about a brutal lifter that climbed from nowhere and flew through to Baugh, and three balls later Rampaul had his fourth as Wahab Riaz prodded loosely to slip. The wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman provided some resistance with an unbeaten 19 from 30 balls, including a fine cover drive as Rampaul over-pitched, but a brace of Dwayne Bravo lbws wrapped up the innings with more than eight overs to spare.
West Indies' run-chase was over in a flash. They eased along to 34 for 0 in six overs before the mid-match interval, and though each man survived a tough chance behind the wicket - Edwards on 6 and Simmons on 31 - the only real opportunity came when Edwards was sent back for a sharp single, only for an alert Mohammad Salman to whip off the bails having noticed that his bat was over the crease but still in the air. The third umpire decided that there was too much doubt to give the decision, and that was effectively that.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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