GUYANA: In the wake of a thumping 126-run series-opening victory, Pakistan will again seek to capitalise on the struggles of the West Indies batting line-up for the second One-Day International at the Guyana National Stadium on Tuesday.
Sunday's capitulation for just 98 represented a continuation of the declining performances of the Caribbean side's batsmen.
At the preceding Tri-Nations Series also involving Sri Lanka and eventual winners India, West Indies won their first two matches in Jamaica but were eliminated from the final on the back of heavy defeats in their remaining encounters in Trinidad with the team managing totals of 171 and 190 for nine.
"It's about a lack of confidence among the batters," West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo lamented following the humiliating loss in front of a full house on Sunday.
"When you're not scoring runs, things just don't seem to go your way. It's really tough," he said.
Compounding the woes of the home side is the fact that their only other batting option in the 13-man squad, Devon Smith, failed to score in the two innings he played during the Tri-Nation Series.
It suggests therefore that the West Indies essentially have no choice but to persist with the same combination for the second match in the hope that they can come good against a top-class bowling line-up and in conditions that Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has acknowledged are very challenging.
"It was one of the most difficult pitches on which I've ever played. It was seaming. It was even stopping a bit," was Misbah's post-match assessment of the playing surface.
"Shahid Afridi played a really good innings for us, you really can't be too hard on the other batsmen on a pitch like this."
Pakistan rallied from 47 for five to 224 for nine on the back of Afridi's bludgeoning 76 and Misbah's patient 51.
The all-rounder then returned the outstanding bowling figures of seven for 12 in routing the West Indies.
Conditions are not expected to be much different for the second game on Tuesday. The teams then head to St Lucia for the remaining three matches of the series.
It is unprecedented for senior international cricket to be played in Guyana at the start of the rainy season, and with inclement weather on Monday forcing the West Indies to cancel their scheduled practice session, batsmen on both sides are again expected to face an almighty task on a pitch offering considerable assistance to the bowlers.
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