KARACHI: Pakistan beat West Indies on Tuesday at National Stadium in the final T20 match of the three match series to maintain their top position in the T20 rankings.
Pakistan whitewashed the West Indian team as they won the third and final match by eight wickets. The victory awarded four points to Pakistan and increased their lead to 130 points on the Australian team, which sits four points behind at the second position.
The last day of the series saw the most crowds in the stands supporting and cheering not only Pakistan but West Indies as well, sending a message of peace to the world.
Pakistan in the last match introduced debutant Shaheen Shah Afridi to T20 cricket and also put Usman Khan Shinwari in the team in place of two sensational attackers of Pakistan Muhammad Amir and Hasan Ali.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first. West Indies came out as a stronger team than the last two outings and posted a total of 153 runs and lost just three wickets. The batting effort was aided by a half century by Andre Fletcher, who scored 52 off 43 balls hitting four fours and three sixes to build a 72-run second wicket partnership with Marlon Samuels. The latter scored 31 off 25, hitting two fours and two sixes.
An unbeaten Denesh Ramdin came in to score 42 runs off 18 balls hitting four boundaries and three sixes. For Pakistan, Shadab Khan took two wickets for 27 runs with Muhammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf and Usman Khan Shinwari taking one wicket apiece.
Pakistan, who were batting second, started off with man of the match Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam added 40 runs off 17 balls hitting six four and two sixes with Azam scoring 51 off 40 balls to chase a target of 156 runs.
Azam and Hussain Talat also added 52 runs from their second wicket partnership. The unbeaten Talat in his innings scored 31 runs off 29 balls hitting four fours including the winning hit to build up a 41-run unbeaten partnership with his series debutant partner Asif Ali who scored 25 off 16 balls hitting two fours and a six.
Pakistan Super League (PSL) Chairman Najam Sethi thanked the West Indies team for coming to Pakistan and also thanked the Pakistan Army and Sindh Government along with the fans who made this series a success. He also congratulated the team to keep up the number one position.
Sethi promised that the National Stadium of Karachi will be fully ready and Lahore and Karachi will be premium venues for any series till the series. Sarfaraz Ahmed said, “When I took captaincy and won the first series we decided to keep this consistency and give chances to the young talent and that is what we have been doing and the success is in front of all.”
“With Ahmed Shehzad, Muhammad Amir and Hasan Ali on the bench and young talent in the field…we gave confidence to the young players and they performed,” he added.
Sarfaraz said, “We are trying to play best cricket and the support we got from the fans if we keep getting this type of support we have a very bright future ahead.”
He also thanked the crowd for making him recall the memories of brining the Champions Trophy home. “The way they cheered it made me recall the time when they all were outside my home cheering for me. Thank you all,” he added.
The 23-year-old Babar Azam who performed in all three matches while receiving the Man of the Series motorbike said, “I take guidance from Shoaib Malik as he is the most senior player in the team and he knows how to handle pressure and take team to a decent total.”
Babar’s opening partner and man of the match Zaman while receiving US $1,000 said that he goes with the plan he has. “The coach and the captain ask me to go in and play with my style and that’s what I do. I do miss singles and doubles, but I am working on that and will improve soon,” he said.
He added that being the part of number one team gives him a lot of confidence. “The environment of the team is really good which feels like home and in every off season I wait for the series and come to my second home (Pakistan team),” he said.
The visiting captain Jason Mohammed said that he was here with a young team including himself and led the team for the first time which was a good experience. Talking about his visit to Pakistan he said, “All the team enjoyed the environment of Pakistan and the hospitality and the crowd too was so wonderful, we all wish to come back soon and play here again.”