In Dubai today, in the first of two warm-up games before their opening T20 World Cup cricket contest, Kieron Pollard’s West Indies failed to get going. In a comprehensive defeat to Pakistan, they managed only 130 for 7, going down by six wickets with 27 balls to spare.
The ‘Maroon Men’ played without veteran Dwayne Bravo, who won the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) title with Chennai Super Kings last Friday, as well as Evin Lewis, Andre Russell and Fabian Allen.
Captain Pollard won the toss and elected to bat, with Andre Fletcher partnering Lendl Simmons at the top, followed by Chris Gayle and Roston Chase in that order.
The West Indies’ plan, as Pollard hinted in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo, was to utilise their power-hitters while using Chase as a stabilising force.
“The type of cricket [Chase] plays fits right into our balance, right in the middle of our power-hitters,” said Pollard. “We need a guy who can manoeuvre the ball, hit the occasional boundary, and keep the run-rate going. That’s an area we keep constantly working on, and we thought he was the right fit at this time.
“I look forward to see what he has to offer… We look forward to reaping rewards of his form from the CPL.”
However, there were only 44 runs on the ball when Chase walked to the crease in the 11th over, as West Indies struggled to get on top of the disciplined Pakistani bowlers.
Fletcher made just two runs while Simmons (18 from 23 balls) and Gayle (20 from 30 balls) didn’t provide too many fireworks.
Chase chipped in a miserly 9 from 13 balls with one boundary before Shimron Hetmyer (28 from 24 balls), Nicholas Pooran (13 from 13 balls) and Pollard (23 from 10 balls) lifted the tempo somewhat.
In the final over, Pollard crashed five fours off medium pacer Haris Rauf but it was too late to put meaningful pressure on their opponents. West Indies finished with an average run-rate of 6.50.
Rauf (2-32) and pacers Hasan Ali (2-21) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-41) did the bulk of the damage for Pakistan.
In reply, West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul bowled Mohammad Rizwan (13 from 17 balls) at 36 for 1 after 5.3 overs. But the partnership of captain Babar Azam (50 from 41 balls) and Fakhar Zaman (46 from 24 balls) set the stage for a straightforward win—despite late wickets off successive balls by Hayden Walsh Jr, who claimed Azam and Mohammad Hafeez.
West Indies play their final warm-up match on Wednesday when they take on Afghanistan, before they start their title defence against England in the Super 12 on Saturday.
Toss: West Indies
West Indies: 130 for 7: (Shimron Hetmyer 28, Hasan Ali 2/21, Haris Rauf 2/32, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/41)
Pakistan: 131 for 3 (Babar Azam 50, Fakhar Zaman 46*, Hayden Walsh Jr 2/41)
Result: Pakistan won by 7 wkts