Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Nervy Pakistan overcome Windies


Pakistan made heavy weather of a five-wicket victory over West Indies in the Champions Trophy match in Johannesburg.
Left-arm seamer Mohammad Aamer, 17, struck in the first over and claimed 3-24 as the severely depleted Windies were reduced to 47-7 in the 15th over.
It needed a maiden one-day fifty from Nikita Miller, who hit six fours and a six in 51, to help them to 133 all out.
But paceman Gavin Tonge had a spell of 4-16 to rattle Pakistan before Umar Akmal made an assured unbeaten 41.
The story of the match looked certain to be the demise of the once mighty West Indians, whose sprinkling of remaining world-class current players are denied to them by a dispute involving the squad and the board.
But their second string side battled admirably and it will be Pakistan's frailties that attract the attention.
West Indies chose to bat on a surface that encouraged bounce and movement from the seamers but were in turmoil from moment Dale Richards stopped his shot and was smartly caught in his follow-through by 17-year-old left-arm seamer Aamer.
Andre Fletcher was outdone by some extra life from Rana Naved and caught at backward point, and it was 14-3 when Dowlin was caught behind off the inside edge.
When Umar Gul trapped Chadwick Walton plumb lbw he was on course for only the second hat-trick in the tournament's history following the 2006 feat by, ironically, West Indian Jerome Taylor.
There were concerns they would not even pass the 65 made by the USA team against Australia in 2004, while the West Indies lowest of 80 against Sri Lanka in 2006 seemed extremely distant.

The West Indian batsmEn were guilty of some reckless strokes
It seemed rather academic when the Windies took their batting powerplay at 88-8 after 26 overs, but Miller blasted three fours in an over from spinner Saeed Amjal.
Miller launched Shahid Afridi over long-off for a glorious six to reach 49, and celebrated his landmark fifty with a lightning strike pose in the mould of fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt.
Conscious of the precarious position of his side with last man Tonge at the other end, Miller was the last to fall, dragging one to long-on.
Because of the early finish of the West Indies innings, there was only a 10-minute break before the Pakistan reply, leaving them three quarters of an hour to bat before the official interval.
Tonge, in only his third one-day international, struck with his first ball, shattering the stumps of Imran Nazir as he tried to work one to the leg-side.
But after an opening wicket maiden he over-stepped, allowing a free hit, and Shoaib Malik backed away to scythe a cut shot on to the roof and out of the ground.
Antiguan Tonge, with a low front arm but bowling a good length at a deceptive pace, kept West Indies in with a faint chance of an extraordinary win as Kamran Akmal flashed at a wide-ish one.
After unsettling the prolific Mohammad Yousuf with a lifting ball that struck a painful blow into the ribs, Tonge should have made it 27-3 when Darren Sammy spilled Yousuf at slip when on just one.
At the break the requirement was 99 from 40 overs but as the lights took full effect Tonge drew Malik into an edge behind with another perfectly pitched delivery.
There was an element of fortune about his fourth wicket, a leg-side ball brushing the thigh pad of Yousuf but nowhere near the bat, and much to the chagrin of the batsman, umpire Steve Davis raised the all-important index finger.
The next wicket was a clear edge, however, as Misbah-ul-Haq's painstaking six from 22 balls was ended by Bernard.
With Pakistan looking hesitant, 19-year-old Umar Akmal, brother of wicketkeeper Kamran, played an ideal innings, combining watchful defence with some stylish attacking strokeplay.
He was struck painfully on the glove by a Tino Best beamer with 11 still needed but Pakistan were grateful he was able to continue and guide them to victory with acting captain Afridi with 19 overs remaining.
The match ended with a Best wide, which epitomised the lack of depth in the Windies bowling, and Pakistan will be grateful that some of the legendary Caribbean paceman were not still around.
Skipper Floyd Reifer insisted he did not regret the decision to bat first and said: "The pitch did a bit more than we thought.
"We fielded well as a unit so that's something positive. We have to go in the nets and keep working hard, making sure when we next play we put together some good partnerships."
Afrid paid tribute to man-of-the-match Akmal and said: "It was very difficult after we lost five wickets but I told him to be be positive and if you get a ball in the right areas go and hit it.
"I love braveheart people and he is one, he will have a good future for Pakistan."

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