The scoreboard tells a story. A story in which proves men who learn from their past are wise and who don’t are unwise!
Startled by the loss to Ireland, the West Indies learnt a few things. Though losing their openers inside of eight overs, the middle order was determined to make their wickets count. Playing sensibly, the middle order caressed the ball, timed it, respected it and stroked it. The lower order smashed it out and around the park. The fielding was in sharp contrast with the Pakistani team. They were sharp and quick in field, latching onto anything in their radar. The tall men jumped and dived around, held onto the catches except for a couple.
Though the crowd was not chanting in unison, the bowling unit certainly was doing so. With a mere one run on the scoreboard, the wickets column showed the number 4. Jerome Taylor with his pace and line took 3 quick wickets and supporting him was the captain himself, Jason Holder, who bowled consistently in good areas and hitting consistent lengths.
But unlike wise men the Pakistani players did not learn anything from the hurting loss to India. Their fielding came under the scanner. Similar to the last time, they were sloppy in the field today as well. Dropping a catch in, as early as, fifth over.
Nasir Jamshed tried holding onto a chance offered by Dwayne Smith, but injured his finger. Afridi dropped two men, Samuels and Bravo. Then in the later part of innings, Irfan lunged for the ball, but as he touched down, it spilled out. The bowling was tight and disciplined initially, but the heads of bowlers went haywire towards the slog overs. They gifted 115 runs in the last ten overs, of which 79 runs were scored in last five overs.
The West Indian team, started disappointingly. Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith were not able to provide the start for which they both have been included in the squad. The Pakistani bowling regime showed confidence and bowled in good areas. The discipline earned them 2 quick wickets of both the openers inside of eight overs. Thus the mandatory power-play was not fruitful for the latter.
The middle order, deemed to be one of the less strong, showed grit and determination in their approach and the time they spent in the middle. The sheer power combined with careful stroking of the cricket ball was a treat to watch.
The Pakistani players did not look like supporting their bowlers, they were sloppy in the field work and disastrous in their catching. They leaked runs. Too many of them. Mis-fields and dropped catches hurt them dearly.
The Pakistani innings was, just short of, a disaster. They batted like they didn’t know a thing about the game of cricket. The batsmen were clueless about how to put bat to ball. It seemed like their programming was corrupted. Instead of playing with attention they were playing carelessly and blindly. First four wickets were not only cheap but were a reflection of how less confident the batsmen were.
The middle order tried to make up for the loss. Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal stitched a partnership, but failed to capitalise as both of them got out after getting in the 50’s. The last 3 wickets fell within a span of 2 overs scoring only 5 runs. The lack of resistance offered by the middle and the lower order often leaves Pakistan disgruntled. Though it would not have helped but, would have saved them from a crushing defeat of 150 runs!
The West Indians were exceptional on the outfield today. They held onto most of the catches that came their way. Vigilant and quick, they did not let the batsmen take easy runs.