KARACHI: West Indies won the toss and elected bowl first in the historic international contest after nine years at the National Stadium Karachi in the first game of the three-match T20I series against Pakistan and in the only second T20I at this venue.
Despite a batting friendly wicket, Jason Mohammed opted to bowl first and hoped that his team, which is excited to be a part of this historic event, will chase down the total.
“Looks like a good-looking wicket, so want to chase. The boys are excited. It’s my first time captaining the T20 team, so hope to rally the boys around. A lot of young guys, some seniors, they’ll look to make a mark,” said Jason Mohammed after winning the toss.
On the other hand, Sarfraz Ahmed was happy that his team is invited to bat first on such a deck. Having a couple of new faces in the side will be beneficial for them with no added scoreboard pressure.
He also revealed that Pakistan are going with a new batting combination of the aggressive Fakhar Zaman and a calm Babar Azam, leaving out Ahmed Shehzad from the playing XI.
“Seems like it’s a batting pitch. Hope to score around 160. Very glad that I’m playing an international at home for the first time since 2008. Hope the locals enjoy the cricket. Hussain and Talat will debut. Babar and Fakhar will open, so a small change at the top as well,” said Sarfraz Ahmed.
Fakhar Zaman took Pakistan off to a flier as he struck three boundaries in the first over bowled by Samuel Badree followed by two fours in the third over of the inning delivered by Rayad Emrit talking Pakistan to 29 in just three overs.
Babar Azam exhibited his class, in the fourth over of the inning when he got a chance to get on the strike, he milked eleven runs in the second over of the debutant, Keemu Paul.
The experienced Rayad Emrit had the last laugh against Babar Azam as he trapped him in front of the wickets on 17 after conceding a boundary in that over.
The debutant, Hussain Talat replaced Babar Azam and opened his account with a boundary on the second delivery he faced in international cricket.
Fakhar Zaman struck the first six of the inning in the sixth over off Samuel Badree, who looked off-colour in his first two overs. He was looking incredibly dangerous, but at that moment, a misunderstanding with Hussain Talat cost him his wicket as he went off for a single, but the debutant did not respond as he was watching the ball, Fakhar got out after scoring 39 runs off 23 deliveries.
Veerasammy Pemaul bowled just three deliveries before getting injured and leaving the field. Marlon Samuels completed his over and conceded a six from Talat in the process.
In the thirteenth over, Sarfraz Ahmed decided to go all guns blazing as they had enough number of wickets in hand with big hitters like Faheem Ashraf and Asif Ali still in the dugout. On the other hand, Hussain Talat looked confidence he performed the role of a supporter where he had to get Sarfraz Ahmed on the strike.
With eight wickets in hand, Pakistan were all set to launch from 137/2, but Hussain Talat lost his wicket at that key moment as he looked to run the second run, but Sarfraz Ahmed’s way was blocked by the bowler Kesrick Williams unintentionally, the left-handed batsman missed his half-century by nine runs.
Followed by Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed also lost his wicket while looking to up the scoring rate, he played an impressive knock 38 runs off 22 deliveries before getting a victim of Rovman Powell.
There were high expectations from Asif Ali, however, he could not deliver on the grand stage as he had no time to get settled, coming out to bat in the seventeenth over, he had to go for his shots, he only managed one run.
It seemed like West Indies will succeed in pulling back things, but Shoaib Malik and Faheem Ashraf struck visitors’ bowlers for 44 runs in the last two overs that got them to a huge total of 203/5.
Shoaib Malik and Faheem Ashraf remained not out on 37(14) and 16 (9) at the end of the inning.
Keemo Paul remained the pick of the bowler with one wicket to his name for 26 runs. Rayad Emrit and Rovman Powell also picked one wicket each but they both leaked runs at economy rates of over 10.
When West Indies came out to chase, Chadwick Walton started off the proceedings by hitting Mohammad Nawaz for a six on the first delivery, but the left-arm slow bowler came back and got rid of him on the fourth delivery.
Difficulties increased for the West Indies when they lost their aggressive batsman, Andre Fletcher and skipper Jason Mohammed for a duck to Mohammad Amir.
Hasan Ali chipped in and removed Denesh Ramdin for another duck, West Indies were struggling at 15/4 in the fifth over.
In a difficult situation, young Rovman Powell along with the experienced Marlon Samuels looked to rebuild the inning for the West Indies. But, as they started to look decent, Shadab Khan showed his magic and removed the 24-year old batsman by catching off his own bowling. He only managed 5 runs off 10 deliveries.
Marlon Samuels was the lone warrior for the visitors in the middle, but after hitting a boundary to Mohammad Nawaz, he looked to go for a big shot, but only managed to balloon it, Faheem Ashraf took an easy catch to remove the big fish for 18 (19).
With nine overs left, West Indies needed more than 18 runs per over to get over the line, which seemed impossible.
Shoaib Malik deepened Windies’ wounds when he removed Rayad Emrit and Kesrick Williams on consecutive deliveries, Samuel Badree managed to avoid the hat-trick.
Hussain Talat put the last nail in West Indies’ coffin as he removed Samuel Badree to finish the job for his team. West Indies bundled up for 60 runs, the lowest total in T20I history and Pakistan claimed the victory by 143 runs.
Their debutant Veerasammy Permaul did not bat as he got injured earlier in the game.
Mohammad Amir took two wickets for three runs, while Mohammad Nawaz and Shoaib Malik also struck twice. Hussain Talat, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan also got one scalp each.