PROVIDENCE — Another terrific spell from off-spinner Sunil Narine followed up stronger batting led by Darren Bravo to gladden the hearts of cricket-starved Guyanese and earn West Indies a morale-boosting, 37-run victory over Pakistan in the second One-Day International at Providence in Guyana today.
The mystery spinner captured 4 for 26 from his allotted 10 overs as the Windies defied half-centuries from Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal to successfully defend an average target of 233 on a slow Guyana National Stadium pitch.
To tumultuous applause from a crowd that half-filled the stands, West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo fittingly formalised the victory with 13 balls remaining, when he had Asad Ali caught on the mid-wicket boundary for two from a miscued pull.
The victory drew the home team level 1-1 in the five-match series, following a 126-run defeat in the first ODI two days earlier at the same venue.
The third ODI takes place on Friday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in Gros-Islet, St. Lucia, where the fourth and the final matches will be played on Sunday and next Wednesday respectively.
The younger Bravo led the way with the bat for West Indies, gathering a polished 54 that gave the early momentum and elder brother Dwayne was part of the late charge, finishing not out on 43, as the hosts, sent in to bat, reached 232 for eight from their allocation of 50 overs.
Johnson Charles scored 31, Kieron Pollard hit 30 and Marlon Samuels added 21, as the Windies tried to erase the bad memory of the embarrassing batting collapse in the first ODI.
Kemar Roach, in particular, and Jason Holder, the West Indies new-ball pair, then kept Jamshed and fellow opener Ahmed Shahzad on their heels. Roach started with four consecutive maiden overs, Holder bowled with discipline and was unfortunate, when the elder Bravo, at second slip, gave Jamshed the first of four reprieves, on zero, in the eighth over. Roach and Holder soon loosened the shackles and both Jamshed and Shahzad got on the move with sixes over mid-wicket under the scoreboard on the eastern side of the ground.
But Roach made the breakthrough in the 11th over, when Shahzad was caught behind for 19, essaying a flat-footed spar at a delivery outside the off-stump. Narine slowed the tempo, when he had Mohammad Hafeez caught at long-on for 20 from a lofted drive in the 18th over. West Indies then endured a dry spell, when Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq joined Jamshed and they kept things rolling.
The home team had a second chance to remove Jamshed on 19, but Darren Sammy failed to hold a thick edge at slip off Narine in the 20th over. Six overs later, Chris Gayle, sprinting about 15 to 20 yards from mid-off to his right, put Jamshed down on 32 off Samuels from a top-edged pull. Sammy lifted West Indian spirits however, when Misbah, the linchpin of the Pakistani batting, essayed a cut over a delivery that kept low and was bowled for 17 in the 29th over, leaving the visitors 103 for three.
Three overs later, Charles mis-stumped Jamshed, on 46, off Samuels — but the West Indies part-time off-spinner struck in his next over, removing Asad Shafiq caught at cover for 10. Sammy failed to stop Jamshed from reaching his 50, when the left-hander lofted the 85th delivery he received over the top of mid-on for the last of his four fours in the 35th over.
Kieron Pollard succeeded in ending Jamshed’s charmed life with the second ball of his first over, when he had him caught at deep mid-on from a mistimed, lofted on-drive in the 33rd over. Narine ensured Shahid Afridi failed to repeat the pyrotechnic show that changed the course of the first ODI, when he had him stumped for five in the 40th over, and there was token resistance from the rest of the Pakistan batting, as they lost their last five wickets for 44 runs in the space of 49 deliveries.
Earlier, West Indies started badly, when Chris Gayle was caught behind for one off Mohammad Irfan, edging a flat-footed drive at a delivery outside the off-stump in the first over.
The younger Bravo joined Charles and saw West Indies through the remainder of the statutory Power Play before a 45-minute stoppage for rain broke their momentum at 50 for one after the 10th over.
Both batsmen had gotten into stride with a boundary off Asad Ali in the fourth over. Bravo cut past point and Charles drove through cover.
They put on 79 for the second wicket either side of the stoppage before Charles charged Afridi and was stumped for 31 essaying a lofted straight drive in the 19th over.
Bravo continued merrily, building on the foundation with Samuels. It was not one of his most fluent innings, although it was punctuated with a few trade-mark, rasping strokes, particularly through the off-side, where he is strongest.
He reached his 50 from 72 balls, when he cut Hafeez, bowling his part-time off-spin, through backward point for his sixth boundary – but trying to increase the tempo, he was bowled between bat and pad, driving at a flighted delivery from Saeed Ajmal in the 33rd over.
His dismissal sparked a period of instability, as West Indies wobbled from 123 for three to 150 for five in the 39th over.
They lost Samuels bowled for 21, when he tried to make room to hit Ajmal through the off-side in the 36th over, and Lendl Simmons was caught at square leg by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal for 10 from a top-edged sweep off Afridi.
Pollard shrugged off a string of low scores in recent matches to get West Indies moving again with explosive batting in a stand of 70 for the sixth wicket with the elder Bravo. After taking 15 deliveries to get warmed up, he found his range with a fierce on-drive off Ajmal that gave the long-on fielder little or no chance to stop. Next over, he and his captain spoiled the figures of left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz, collecting two fours and a six in an over that cost 18. Pollard lofted a four and a six in his favourite zone straight, and Bravo drilled another loose delivery over the top of extra cover.
Just when it appeared they were about to run amok, Pollard was bowled for 30, undone by a perfect in-swinging yorker from Ali that hit the base of off-stump in the penultimate over.
West Indies tried to scramble as many as they could from the final over, but the run outs of Darren Sammy and Kemar Roach saw them finish tamely. (windiescricket)