ST LUCIA: Pakistani batsmen mounted a successful chase, making 222 for the loss of two wickets in 42 overs to win the first one-day international against West Indies on Saturday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
Earlier, West Indies had managed to make 221 runs for the loss of six wickets. Wahab Riaz was the most successful Pakistani bowler with two for 62 from 10 overs, but he and fellow left-arm fast-medium bowler Junaid Khan let West Indies off the hook, as the hosts finished on 221 for six from their 50 overs.
The visitors’ spin bowling triumvirate of Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and captain Shahid Afridi tied down the West Indies batsmen in the middle overs in particular, and between them collected two wickets at a cost of 100 from 30 overs.
But Pakistan’s two left-arm pacers did not have the same control over the home team’s batsmen, and Darren Bravo hit 67 from 109 balls to lead the way West Indies, whose captain Darren Sammy supported with a rapid-fire 29 not out.
After Wahab and Junaid failed to make the breakthrough in their opening spells, Afridi quickly turned to the spin bowlers, and was rewarded when Devon Smith was lbw to Hafeez for 17 in the seventh over.
The spinners continued to apply the pressure and soon West Indies found themselves in trouble at 77 for three when Lendl Simmons was caught behind off Ajmal in the 20th over, and Marlon Samuels was needlessly run out for two in the 24th over.
Afridi continued to employ the spinners, alongside Wahab and Junaid, and the West Indies batsmen capitalised with Kirk Edwards joining Darren Bravo in putting on 59 for the fourth wicket.
Wahab had Edwards caught at deep mid-wicket in the 39th over, leaving the two Bravo brothers to put on 38 before falling in quick succession to leave West Indies 177 for six.
Wahab had Dwayne Bravo caught at extra cover in the 45th over, and Darren was run out two balls later, when he failed to beat Ahmed Shahzad’s throw from fine leg to the ‘keeper, going for a second run.
But the closing overs spoiled the earlier hard work from the Pakistan spinners, as Sammy, playing on home soil, slammed three fours and two sixes, and Carlton Baugh spurred a late charge in a stand of 46 unbroken for the seventh wicket.
The match is the first in a series of five ODIs, with the second scheduled for Monday at the same ground.