Shaheen Afridi’s late strikes help Pakistan seal streak
PAKISTAN WEST INDIES TOUR, 2021
Shaheen Afridi’s three-wicket run saw Pakistan win by 9 points to win the series © AFP
Pakistan survived a late scare from Romario Shepherd to win the T20I three-game series against the West Indies 2-0 with a narrow nine-point victory in Karachi on Tuesday (December 14th).
Despite losing the first wickets on the power play, Pakistan were backed by Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali who provided the platform with a 48-point stand. A 4 for 41 collapse followed, leading to death, but Shadab Khan’s quick cameo of 28 did not come out and Iftikhar Ahmed’s vigorous punches at the end helped the hosts finish with a 172 competitive for 8.
Brandon King led the West Indies hunt with his first T20I fifty, but his departure, followed closely by a three-wicket Shaheen Shah Afridi, sounded the death knell for visitors and Shepherd’s late blow was unsuccessful.
Pakistan lags on power play
The powerplay script was too similar to Game 1 for Pakistan’s taste. Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman fell early, within five overs, and Akeal Hosein again dictated the conditions, allowing the West Indies to take control. It was Rizwan’s call, but Babar fell victim to a brutal Hayden Walsh throw and lazy run, going for a non-existent single. Zaman descended on the track to attack the spinner with his left arm and was beaten to the outside edge while Nicholas Pooran retrieved the ball and whipped the deposits in a flash. Having opted for the bat, Pakistan were in a less than ideal position at 38 for 2 at the start of the fifth and Hosein was knocked out by the seventh, coming back 1 for 16 of his quota.
Rizwan-Haider revives Pakistan
And again, like yesterday, Rizwan and Haider led the recovery. It wasn’t a century of stand this time, but just enough to lay the groundwork for total combat. Rizwan led the way with a 38-30 ball, finding the limit odd and exceeded for not letting the stroke rate drop drastically, while Haider made 31 calm deliveries out of 34 deliveries at the other end. The pair added 48 points to the seven-point association, siding with a respectable 73-2 before a collapse ensued.
Shadab, Iftikhar star with late cameos
The sackings of Rizwan and Haiders in successive Odean Smith overs triggered a mini collapse that saw Pakistan slide from 86 for 2 to 127 for 6 after 17 overs. Iftikhar, well placed on 19 of 14 at the time, led the way with some six from Oshane Thomas to help Pakistan cover some ground on death. Thomas smothered that threat by letting Iftikhar caught up with the last ball of the round, but Shadab (28 * of 12) picked up where he left and slammed three sixes and a four in the final two overs to propel Pakistan to 172. for 8 – hosts scoring 45 out of the last three.
WI loses the first wickets in power play
Mohammad Wasim Jr hit his second ball of the game when Shai Hope mis-timed his stroke to make a single strike for Iftikhar, who was stationed in the middle of the deep wicket. Shamrah Brooks looked menacing during his brief stint – hitting the pitcher who had just secured the breakthrough for a four on a near-perfect Yorkie, then a short arm stroke to clear the deep midwicket for a six. However, Moahmmad Nawaz was quick to put an end to the fireworks display when he trapped Brooks LBW right after to leave the shaky West Indies at 31-2 at the start of the big chase.
King keeps WI on track
King got lucky twice early in his innings – first when a thick leading edge fell just short of the midpoint in the fourth quarter, then four balls later when the pitch underarm. de Babar missed the stumps. And he made sure Pakistan paid the price. The West Indies opener made the most of the reprieve as he kept his team in the chase with his 43 67 balls. With Nicholas Pooran on the other end, King sewed a 54 point stand while the West Indies were at tied with Pakistan at the halfway mark. And while Nawaz took out the visiting captain, just after breaking through the partnership milestone in the 11th, King helped them through the sticky phase by recording his first half-century T20I in 34 deliveries. In his next eight deliveries, King hit two sixes and a four as Windies looked to speed up. However, he ended up handing a single take to Nawaz by trying to club another one for a long time.
Afridi pins WI on the mat
King’s untimely sacking deprived the West Indies of a fatal blow to the acceleration, and if that wasn’t enough, Shaheen Afridi’s 17th triple wicket proved the final nail in the coffin. Tourists needed 46 out of 24, and Smith – at the other end during King’s brief assault – picked up the torch, but fell quickly after a superb demarcation line hold from Asif Ali who saw the soft signal finally confirmed after several reruns from all available angles. Afridi then got rid of Drakes and Walsh in the fifth and sixth deliveries – both bagging golden ducks and leaving WI to wobble at 131 for 8 at the end of the 17th. Running out of mates, Shepherd hit two sixes and just as many. limits to lead a lone fight, but all his undefeated 35 of 19 unbeateners did was narrow the margin for their loss.
Brief Notes: Pakistan 172/8 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 38, Iftikhar Ahmed 32; Odean Smith 2-24) beats West Indies 163 in 20 overs (Brandon King 67, Romario Shepherd 35 *; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-26, Mohammad Nawaz 2 -36) by 9 strokes.