2015 ICC World Cup: Pakistan implode as West Indies grab 150-run win

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February 21, 2015

Brief Scorecard: West Indies 310 for 6 (Ramdin 51, Simmons 50, Russell 42) beat Pakistan 160 (Akmal 59, Maqsood 50, Taylor 3-15, Russell 3-33) by 150 runs

Losing four wickets for just one run at the start of their chase crushed Pakistan's aspirations of chasing down 311.

February 21, 2015

Brief Scorecard: West Indies 310 for 6 (Ramdin 51, Simmons 50, Russell 42) beat Pakistan 160 (Akmal 59, Maqsood 50, Taylor 3-15, Russell 3-33) by 150 runs

Losing four wickets for just one run at the start of their chase crushed Pakistan's aspirations of chasing down 311.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – One-Day Internationals are usually won by playing good cricket for the best part of 100 overs. But, they can be lost in a matter of 19 balls, as Pakistan proved, collapsing more readily than a house of cards that has been dynamited.

Those who tuned in to the game late would have been forgiven for thinking their television screens were displaying the score the Australian way when they saw 1 for 4. Jerome Taylor had three wickets for one run, and Jason Holder one for none at one stage, and the suggestion of a chase of 311 seemed more of a fairy tale than that children’s yarn involving carriages turning into pumpkins at midnight.

It was Taylor who blew the game out of the water, in the first over after the lunch interval. Nasir Jamshed looked to fetch a fast one from outside off and pull, but only ballooned a dolly to short midwicket. Five balls later, Younis Khan was on his way before he could get his feet moving, a delivery angling into him from wide of the crease straightening at the last moment to catch the outside edge.

Haris Sohail made it three ducks in a row, cutting a ball from Taylor that was too straight for the shot, only finding the point fielder, who juggled but held on. Just in case Pakistan were entertaining any fleeting thoughts of a miraculous recovery, Holder joined the party when Ahmed Shehzad drove with hard hands, not quite to the pitch of the ball, spearing a catch to gully.

At 1 for 4, even the most incurable optimist would have accepted that only one result was possible, as long as the weather held. Of course, he might have suggested that all was not lost for Pakistan, who were bowled out for 74 against England in the 1992 World Cup, a tournament they would go on to win.

Neither precipitation nor positive thinking messed with the result on a day when the skies at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch transformed from the colour of steel to sapphire just at the right time. Even the man who makes the most of a good crisis, Misbah-ul-Haq, could not put up a stand, falling for only 7 to leave Pakistan at 25 for 5.

Sohaib Maqsood (50) and Umar Akmal (59) helped themselves to half-centuries, but all this did was flatter the margin of defeat to 150 runs and make the tiniest of dents in the negative net run-rate, which will not come into play if Pakistan continue to play like this. Bowled out for only 160, Pakistan now have a few days of pain ahead of them before things get better.

There is never any shortage of intrigue when Pakistan are in town, and decision to drop Yasir Shah, the impressive legspinner, against West Indies, who often play finger spinners after a fashion that resembles a hyperactive toddler trying to slay an imaginary dragon with a toy sword, was strange, to say the least. But, given how well Pakistan’s quick bowlers had done in recent times, it appeared that the decision to put West Indies in was a good one.

If the collapse dramatically exposed the batting, the performance on the field liberally showed why expectations of this team were at such a low ebb. At least five straightforward catches were put down – Jamshed, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Irfan and Shahid Afridi, twice being the guilty parties – and there was more fumbling on the field than in the back seat of a teenager’s car on prom night.

A more clinical team would have pinned Pakistan to the mat, but West Indies, perhaps feeling some of the effects of the melodramas surrounding the board back home, could not really capitalize.

Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith continued to struggle at the top, and while circumspection was understandable given that the new white cherry was nipping about a bit, there was no explanation for why even safe singles could not be taken with regularity. The pressure eventually told, Gayle mishitting a pull and Smith nibbling outside off.

Russell smashed 42 off just 13 balls to take West Indies past the 300-run mark.

Darren Bravo, the most assured of all the batsmen on display, took one crunching blow when a misdirected run out attempt from Younis Khan crashed into the side of the batsman’s helmet. After some attention from the doctor, and a quick check that all was well, Bravo rose to play some pleasing shots. But a second fall, this time clutching a left hamstring that appeared to be torn, would put an end to his innings. Bravo, on 49, was driven off the ground on a golf cart ambulance, clutching his leg in serious pain. According to agency reports, he was later taken to hospital for a scan on his injured leg.

West Indies were so stuck that only 16 runs came from five Power Play overs. It took Denesh Ramdin to get the innings going, cheeky cut shots, confident straight drives and muscular mows over the onside taking him to 51 off only 43 balls before one big shot too many resulted in his dismissal.

Lendl Simmons, fresh from a counter-attacking century against Ireland in Nelson, found he had plenty to do once more. And he showed that he was up to the task, launching Shahid Afridi into the stands at midwicket with a confident slog sweep early in his innings. Hitting on both sides of the pitch, Simmons gave Pakistan’s bowlers a real headache, boundaries coming off cuts, heaves and sweeps.

Andre Russell joined Simmons (50 not out) in the middle for some long-handle fun at the death, swinging hard and true to clobber 42 off only 13 balls and West Indies were lifted to 310 for 6. That would prove 150 too many for dismal Pakistan, who failed to make it past 39 overs.


Courtesy: Wisden India