Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Samuels’ ton not enough


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GROS ISLET, St Lucia – Marlon Samuels’ fifth One-Day International hundred was neutralized when rain and purposeful Pakistan batting combined to send West Indies stumbling to a six-wicket defeat yesterday.
Samuels struck nine fours and four sixes in a classy, unbeaten 106 from 104 balls that earned him the Man of the Match award, as the Windies posted 262 for seven off  49 overs in the fourth of five ODIs at the Beausejour Stadium.
But the intervention of the weather forced a revision of Pakistan’s target to 189 in 31 overs, leaving them 121 to get in 14 remaining overs with eight wickets in hand – much to the chagrin of the crowd.
Crisp half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq steered the visitors home as none of the home team’s bowlers could make a major impact. Hafeez hit the topscore of 59, Misbah supported with an unbeaten 53, Umar Akmal was not out on 29 and Nasir Jamshed made 22.
A leg-bye off West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo sealed the victory for Pakistan with six balls remaining to give them an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series, which concludes on Wednesday at the same venue, where the third ODI ended in a tie last Friday.
Samuels got the juices flowing with an effortless straight drive off Wahab Riaz in the 16th over and reached his milestone from 103 balls when he pulled a short delivery from Mohammad Irfan to  wide long-on for two.
He shared in two crucial partnerships, adding 57 for the fourth wicket with Chris Gayle, moved down to No. 5 in a re-shuffle of the hosts’ batting order, and 95 for the fifth wicket with Lendl Simmons.
Simmons scored 46, Johnson Charles got 32 and Gayle crunched 30 to give backbone to the West Indies innings.
Jason Holder then provided an early breakthrough for West Indies, trapping Ahmed Shahzad lbw for 14 in the fifth over, a decision confirmed after the batsman had umpire Peter Nero’s decision reviewed.
Windies set Pakistan back further, when left-handed opener Nasir Jamshed was run out for 22 in the 15th over, backing up too far and failing to get a response from Hafeez.
Rain soon stopped play for close to an hour and 20 minutes with the Pakistanis 66 for three after 17overs, forcing the adjustment to the target.
On resumption, Hafeez, in particular, and Misbah put the home team on their heels, striking the ball crisply and rotating the strike smartly to keep the visitors within reach of their new target.
A wayward 21st over – from Holder – that cost 19 put Pakistan ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score for the first time in the chase with Hafeez hooking the lanky fast bowler for two sixes.
West Indies got back into the match when Kemar Roach had Hafeez caught at backward point in the 24th over and Bravo had Shahid Afridi caught at deep mid-wicket two overs later for seven, leaving the Pakistanis needing 45 from 34 balls.
A period of attrition when the Windies bowled with discipline to leave Pakistan needing 26 from 18 balls ended, when Misbah carted Sunil Narine over mid-wicket  for his only six in the 29th over to reach his 50 from 42 balls.
But Bravo gave up the ghost in the following over, when Umar Akmal struck him for consecutive fours from the first  three deliveries before signing off.
Earlier, left-handed opener Devon Smith, replacing Kieron Pollard in the line-up and opening with Johnson Charles instead of Gayle, was caught behind for eight off Irfan, under-edging a pull in the sixth over.
Darren Bravo came to the crease and carried the Caribbean side past 50 with Charles before he was caught at mid-on for nine off Wahab from a leading edge trying to flick in the 14th over.
Charles had got his blood pumping with a pull through mid-wicket off Irfan in the third over and his carefree approach carried him to 32 before he was lbw playing across a full-length delivery from Junaid Khan in the 17th over. (JG)

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