High-flying Pakistan target clean sweep in T20 series against Windies today
DUBAI (92 News) – Pakistan already hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 International series against West Indies, but the recently crowned ICC World T20 2016 champion will hope to pull one back when the two teams lock horns for one last time in the 20-over format in Abu Dhabi on Monday night.
The current West Indies team is missing a number of players who were part of its successful World T20 campaign in March-April in India, including the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy, which has left it with a less experienced side. Pakistan inflicted a nine-wicket defeat in the first match and followed it up with a 16-run win in the second, using its spinners to good use to rattle West Indies in both matches in Dubai.
“The first Power Play yesterday (first match) and today were very similar. Yesterday we were five down, three down in the first six today,” Toby Radford, the West Indies batting coach, told reporters after the second game on Saturday. “And I think the big difference when you looked at Pakistan in the first six (overs) was they were 38 for 1 and 39 for 1 on both days.
“Clearly, the game plan from Pakistan has been to have slow wickets to bowl a lot of spin and have very big boundaries. West Indies are known to be a big, six-hitting and boundary-hitting side, normally play on quicker pitches and slightly smaller grounds. But it’s up to us to find a way around that.”
Imad Wasim, the left-arm spinner, was particularly impressive, picking up six wickets in the two matches at an average of 5.33 and an economy of 4.00. Pacers Sohail Tanvir and Hasan Ali too have picked up wickets to support the spin assault from Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz.
But the third contest will be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and it will be interesting to see what kind of track is prepared at the venue. The temperature in the region, as expected, has been on the higher side, with the mercury rising up to 41°C, making it hard for the visiting players to get accustomed to the conditions quickly.
For Pakistan, Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain, and Shoaib Malik, who became only the third cricketer from the country to score more than 1500 T20I runs, took care of the batting responsibilities during a crucial fourth-wicket partnership in the second encounter, while Babar Azam and Khalid Latif have racked up runs in both matches to ensure the host goes in to this match high on confidence.
Dwayne Bravo has been the only West Indies batsman to score a half-century in the series so far, but it will take more notable contributions from the Caribbean batsmen to avenge the first two losses and build up momentum for the rest of its time in the United Arab Emirates.
The T20I series will be followed by three One-Day Internationals, the first of which will be played in Sharjah on September 30.
Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Umar Akmal, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Saad Nasim.
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher (wk), Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Sunil Narine, Jerome Taylor, Samuel Badree, Jason Holder, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams, Chadwick Walton.