Champions Trophy: West Indies scrape through to 2-wicket win over Pakistan
West Indies eked out a two-wicket win over Pakistan in a low-scoring Group B encounter to start their Champions Trophy campaign on a perfect note at the Kennington Oval, here today.
Opting to ball, paceman Kemar Roach and spinner Sunil Narine shared six wickets between them to help West Indies bowl out Pakistan for a paltry 170 in 48 overs.
Pakistan owed their total to skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who laboured his way to an unbeaten 96 and shared a 91-run stand with opener Nasir Jamshed (50) for the fourth wicket.
While chasing, West Indies made a heavy weather of the target before scampering home with two wickets in hand in 40.4 overs.
West Indies lost two wickets -- Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo -- early during their paltry chase of 171. While Charles hooked a Mohammad Irfan (3/32) delivery straight to the hands of Wahab Riaz at fine-leg, Bravo edged one to Kamran Akmal behind the stumps off the same bowler an over later.
Thereafter, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels played cautiously to get West Indies' chase back on track with a 77-ball 63-run third wicket stand.
Gayle seemed to have been bogged down by the impressive Pakistani bowling attack as he scored his 39 off 47 balls balls with the help of four boundaries and one six.
Samuels too did not look convincing and scored his 30 runs off 57 balls and struck three fours in the process.
Both Gayle and Samuels looked uncomfortable against off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (2/38). The bowler finally had the last laugh when he cleaned up Gayle with a doosra to drew curtains on the partnership.
New man in Ramnaresh Sarwan was done in by a terrific bouncer from Riaz (2/42) in the next over as, in trying to fend the delivery, he only managed to edge one to wicket-keeper Akmal.
Samuels then gave away his wicket after doing all the hard work. He was stumped by Akmal off a Mohammad Hafeez delivery that slightly drifted away from the batsman after pitching.
Kieron Pollard (30) and Dwayne Bravo (19) played sensibly from there on, adding 43 runs for the sixth wicket to bring West Indies closer.
However, the going was not easy for Pollard as well as he scored his 30 off 58 balls during which he hit three fours and a straight six over the bowler's head.
But just when it seemed Pollard and Dwayne Bravo would guide West Indies home, the duo departed in successive overs to give Pakistan a ray of hope.
After scoring 11 off eight balls, Narine gave a simple catch to Akmal off Irfan to sent some shivers in the West Indies' camp with the team still needing six to win.
But it was not to be as Denesh Ramdin (11 not out) and Roach (5 not out) eventually guided West Indies home.
Earlier, Pakistan were bowled out for a paltry 170 in 48 overs due to some disciplined effort from the Caribbean bowlers.
The worst part for Pakistan was that they could not bat out the full quota of 50 overs as Misbah was left stranded.
The skipper faced 127 deliveries in his fighting knock which had eight boundaries including three sixes. Misbah's last-wicket stand of 32 with Irfan (2 off 14 balls) lent some respectability to the total.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach, who won the Man-of-the-Match award, took three wickets for 28 runs and off-spinner Sunil Narine three for 34.
Pakistan 170, 50 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 96 no, Nasir Jamshed 50; K Roach 3-28, S Narine 3-34)
West Indies 172-8, 40.4 overs (Mohammad Irfan 3-32)
Result: West Indies won by 2 wkts