West Indies – Gayle Bats Deep, Samuels Ton Up But Pakistan Secures Win

Pakistan 189 for 4 (Hafeez 59, Misbah 53*) beats West Indies 261 for 7 (Samuels 106*, Simmons 46) by 6 wickets (D/L method)

West Indies’ back was up against the wall after the rain ceased and Pakistan was given a new target of 189 in 31 overs, leaving them to get 121 in 14 remaining overs.

Misbah-ul-Haq wasted no time as he plundered the WI bowling attack by hitting an unbeaten 53 runs off 43 balls. He was ably supported by Mohammad’s Hafeez’s 59 off 62. The stand by both players placed the Windies in a dire strait and it showed in their field of play as they seemed resigned to a losing fate.

West Indies must have felt hard done by mother nature as earlier in the day, they had put out their best batting performance of 261 for 7 in 49 overs, the highest by either side in the series thus far.

Their relatively large total was partly due to a superb batting performance from batting stylist Marlon Samuels, who hit the first century of the series – 106 off 104.

The Windies’ innings started with Johnson Charles and Devon Smith whose batting career for the West Indies must be coming to an end given his failure to step up to the plate the selectors have handed him time and again. He replaced Gayle at the top of the innings but did not last long as he soon bottom-edged to the keeper from a ball by Mohammad Irfan.

By the time Gayle arrived at the crease, the ball was only eight overs old  and the score was 63 for 3. Therefore, if the plan was to save Gayle from the new ball and Pakistan’s two left-arm fast bowlers, placing him lower in the batting order did not work as there were three early wickets down.

Gayle who has been having a miserable time with the bat since the beginning of the series, started out scratchily and just at the point where he seemed to be regaining his confidence, he was out caught by substitute fielder, Umar Amin, to a ball bowled by Shahdid  Afridi.

However, immediately after Gayle’s departure it was “a Marlon Samuels show” The elegant right-hand batter struck the ball all over the ground, much to excitement of the spectators who by this time were jumping and cheering at every ball put away by the Windies silky-smooth batsman.

Although, Simmons, Sammy, and Bravo played the role of the supporting cast well, it was Samuels brilliant knock of 106 that gave the WI hope of taking the series to a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately for the WI this was not to be as Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq took the game away from them with some brilliant batting. The Windies bowlers also did not help their cause much as they were all carted away with an economic bowling rate ranging from 3.33 to 8.66.

Pakistan is now in an unassailable position leading the series 2-1. Both teams will now play the 5th ODI match in St Lucia on Wednesday afternoon. A victory here for the WI will level the series and of course cause the Windies to save face.

However, the question is, will Pakistan yield?

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow