West Indies started their tour of Pakistan this morning with a 63-run defeat this morning, captain Nicholas Pooran’s experimental team put to the sword by the hosts at the Karachi National Stadium.
Spinner Akeal Hosein removed Pakistan captain and star batsman Babar Azam for a duck with just the fourth ball of the contest, but there was little else for West Indies to celebrate today.
Pakistan, propelled by opener Mohammad Rizwan (78 off 52 balls, 10 x 4) and middle-order batsman Haider Ali (68 off 39, 6 x 10, 4 x 6), posted 200 off their 20 overs. In reply, the ‘Maroon Men’ were all out for 137 off 19 overs—and, at 88 for 7 after 13.2 overs, it could have been worse.
Even before pacer Sheldon Cottrell and allrounders Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers failed Covid-19 tests on Friday, Pooran’s squad was already without seven senior players, including captain Kieron Pollard.
WI responded today by including in the starting XI two players who had not been sent to Karachi to play T20 cricket at all. Batsmen Shamarh Brooks and Devon Thomas were listed on the West Indies One-day International (ODI) team—and Thomas was not in the original 15, having been a late call-up as replacement for the withdrawn Pollard.
Yet both Brooks and Thomas played today while original selectees Darren Bravo, Gudakesh Motie and Hayden Walsh Jr were nowhere to be seen.
There has so far been no response from Cricket West Indies (CWI) on this morning’s T20I selection although it is unlikely that the change in personnel would have significantly narrowed the gulf in class between the two teams.
If Hosein’s early breakthrough with one prized wicket for one run off the first over offered a ray of hope, the size of the task was almost immediately made obvious when debutant Dominic Drakes went for 11 runs in his first over. the game’s third.
The hosts never really eased up. Hosein finished with a respectable 1/19 off his four overs while pacer Oshane Thomas took 1/38. All of the other four pacers went for more than 10 runs per over, Odean Smith being the most expensive with 1/56.
In WI’s turn at the crease, after Brandon King’s cheap early dismissal, Pooran and vice-captain Shai Hope put on a brisk 26 runs for the second wicket before the skipper was yorked by Mohammad Wasim for 18 (10b, 1 x 4, 2 x 6). The score was then 33 for 2.
Hope managed 31 (26b, 4 x 4) before he went lbw to Shadab Khan while Thomas and Brooks, like Drakes and Smith before them, struggled to bridge the gap between the domestic and international game.
Thomas, batting at 4, last four balls before he was dismissed for two runs. Brooks managed 15 balls and contributed just five. It was 60 for 5 at that stage from 9.4 overs.
Rovman Powell, another late call-up, had his moments in his 23-run cameo off 15 deliveries but never looked like changing the course of the match. It was 88 for 7 when he departed.
And the run rate was already a mathematical impossibility for the visitors when Smith and Romario Shepherd offered some entertainment value with a few big shots at the death. Smith contributed 24 (16b, 2 x 4, 2 x 6) and Shepherd posted 21 (16b, 2 x 4, 1 x 6) to go with his figures of 2/43.
On this evidence, it will be a long, punishing series for West Indies; The good news is that, with luck, a few of Pooran’s rookies may learn to swim.
Today, they were sunk. What rhymes with ‘sunk’ might be unkind, but certainly not inaccurate.
Toss: West Indies
Pakistan: 200/6 (Mohammad Rizwan 78, Haider Ali 68; Romario Shepherd 2/43, Akeal Hosein 1/19);
West Indies: 137 all out (Shai Hope 31, Odean Smith 24; Mohammad Wasim 4/40, Shadab Khan 3/17).
Man of the Match: Haider Ali
Result: Pakistan won by 63 runs
Pakistan lead three-match series 1-0.