by Clifton Ross
Jason Mohammed etched his name in cricket history books when he smashed an unbeaten 91 to help the West Indies complete their highest successful
chase in ODI cricket after beating Pakistan by four wickets in a
thriller played at the Providence National Stadium, Guyana yesterday.
In a match where over 600 runs were scored, Mohammed showed that he
could punch above his weight class as he smashed a masterful 91 required just 58 balls with 11 fours and three sixes as the West Indies finished on 309-6 from 49 overs in reply to Pakistan’s formidable
West Indies opener Kieran Powell stroked a solid 61 while Ashley Nurse who grabbed 4-62, returned to play a beauty by ending with 34 from 15 with five fours and one six to help guide his team home.
Earlier, Pakistan Mohammad Hafeez smacked six fours and three sixes in his
top-score of 88. Opener Ahmed Shehzad batted classily for 67 while the veteran Shoaib Malik hammered a bruising 53 from 38 with six fours and two maximums as the visitors made full use of a new batting surface at Providence.
Apart from Nurse, skipper Jason Holder (1-58) was the only other wicket-taker for the West Indies.
The home team began their uphill chase with a brisk start from Evin Lewis (47) who got things going with an assault on fast-bowler Hasan Ali who he spanked for back-to-back boundaries in the
second over of the chase to give the Guyanese crowd something to cheer
Left-arm speedster Mohammad Amir drew first blood for his team when Chadwick Walton (07) was out caught by Wahab Riaz.
Despite the early setback, the West Indies did well enough to rack up their first 50 after 12 overs without losing anymore wickets as the Pakistanis opted for spin from both ends. Lewis looking to repeat a booming six off Hafeez after successfully hitting the off-spinner for
a maximum, was knocked over three short of fifty.
After some digging in, Powell upped his scoring rate following the
loss of Lewis and along with Shai Hope who opened up his arms with few
lusty blows, hitting four and a six shortly after walking out to the middle, helped raise the West Indies team 100. The left-handed Powell brought up his fifty with a boundary off Amir which also raised the half-century stand between him and Hope.
Riaz, reintroduced into the attack from the Media Center End bagged the wicket of a set Powell who was outfoxed by a slower ball from the pacer which he spooned straight to Akmal at mid-off. Hope became Khan’s first wicket the right-hander was caught by Sarfraz for 24.
With a required run rate of almost 10.00 per over and the final 10 overs to be bowled, Johnathan Carter (14) and Jason Mohammed were present when the Windies raised their 200-run mark and the pair found the boundary a few times which was needed by their team as the end of the innings approached.
Mohammed smoked Ali for a big six over long-off which traveled a few
rows back in the Green Stand, then crunched the pacer through mid-off
four a four as the home team took their deficit below 100. Mohammed then hammered Riaz for a few fours, one of which raised a brutal fifty from just 31 deliveries as the hosts seemed to be fancying the tight chase.
Amir then managed to pull things back with the wicket of Carter who gave Riaz a simple catch to put the West Indies on the backfoot at 231-5. Mohammed cut loose on the bowling smashing sixes and fours at will as the West Indies required 56 from the final six overs.
The Captain Holder (11) then attempting a big shot fell a few feet short of the intended boundary but was accepted by Azam at long-off as Shadab got his second. However its was some clean power-hitting by Mohammed and a flurry by Nurse who added and match-winning, unbroken 50 to take the Windies one up in the series.
When play began, Shehzad and Kamran Akmal (47) were watchful in the
first over before pacer Shannon Gabriel presented the latter with a full delivery just wide of off-stump to which the wicket-keeper sweetly drove through the covers to register the first boundary for
Gabriel then horridly overstepped the line and attempted a short-ball on his free hit delivery which was called a wide before disappearing over mid-wicket for a big six compliments of Akmal. His partner soon joined in on the action to register a couple of nicely timed fours of
pacer Alzarri Joseph.
After the first six overs Pakistan seemed to be motoring along nicely with the score well past 30 and the pair of openers looking settled.
Pakistan soon raced past their first fifty thanks to the cunning atting by the openers. The Windies skipper would then provide the first breakthrough when Akmal was caught behind by Chadwick Walton off an edge but not before he clobbered five fours and three sixes.
At 85 for 1, the old-hand Hafeez walked out to familiar conditions at the Providence venue where he played a number of matches for the local
CPL franchise, Guyana Amazon Warriors. Hafeez broke the chains with a
thumping six off homeboy Devendra Bishoo as the visitors raised their
100 in the 20th over.
Shehzad’s first milestone came with a streaky boundary through the Third-Man region, a shot which took the opener just 68 deliveries with six fours as he notched up his 14th ODI half-century. However, after playing well during most parts of the morning, Shehzad was cleaned up
by Nurse after mistiming an attempted big shot.
The dismissal of a set Shehzad brought the West Indies’ boogeyman, Babar Azam who scored three tons the last time the two sides met, to the middle with his team strongly placed at 149-2. The 150 came up a few deliveries after the wicket fell and Pakistan had roughly 20 more
overs to have a go and post a huge total.
Azam was not able to get out the blocks this time as he fell to Nurse, caught by Joseph for 13. Meanwhile, the senior Hafeez played a gritty innings, making the most of his familiarity in Guyana as he reached 50 from 68 balls with three fours and a six which helped his team past the 200-run mark.
Shoaib Malik’s impulsiveness at the crease allowed Hafeez to further
settle in after helping himself to a few boundaries. The two also complimented each other well, adding a vital 50 from 33 balls as Pakistan looked like posting at least 260 with eight overs remaining.
Hafeez perished to Nurse, caught by Walton 20 odd short of what would
have been a good 100 while Malik brought up a quick-fire 50 with a six
off the West Indies captain before falling to the red-hot Nurse, aught at long-on by Holder as Sarfraz Ahmed and Wasim saw out the final overs.
Sunday’s match at Providence is expected to have a sold out capacity crowd as the hosts look to take the series 2-0.