x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pakistan defeat West Indies by four wickets

Kamran Akmal scored two big sixes off the final over to seal a four-wicket victory for Pakistan in the first ODI match against the West Indies.

Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, had put his team in control but wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal scored 15 runs off the last over to give Pakistan the victory in the first One Day International in Abu Dhabi.
Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, had put his team in control but wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal scored 15 runs off the last over to give Pakistan the victory in the first One Day International in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Chris Gayle produced a million dollar knock that was made famous after the Texas billionaire Allen Stanford's Twenty20 for US$20 million (Dh73.5 m) tournament but it was a little gem of a knock from wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal for Pakistan to make a winning start in the three-match Fortune Cup series. Akmal, 24 not out from 9 balls, hit two sixes in Jerome Taylor's last over to clinch the game with a delivery to spare last night at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. The captain Shoaib Malik kept Pakistan's hopes afloat with a breezy 66 from 50 deliveries after the half centuries from the opener Khurram Manzoor (69) and Younis Khan (56). Debutant Lionel Baker took 3 for 47 from 9 overs. Gayle, the captain, led from the front, hitting 11 fours and 5 sixes in a 106-ball 113 for his team to post 294 for 9. Pakistan found batting under lights and dewy conditions more difficult and started slowly. In fact Pakistan were always behind the run rate until Akmal's heroics in the final over. Gayle won on the toss and had no hesitation to take first lease of the wicket on a perfect batting strip. And with fellow left-hander Sewnarine Chattaergoon, he made a cautious start, understandably so, as it was their first game at this venue. The captain's inning gained momentum after hoisting Abdur Rauf for a six over mid wicket and followed it up with a four to the same area in the medium pacer's third over. The runs then came thick and fast as the pair put on 125 in 19.3 overs before Chattergoon departed for 33 off 55 deliveries with five fours. Gayle went on to complete his century off 90 balls, and survived a difficult caught and bowled chance from Umer Gul nine runs later, which didn't prove costly as he flicked one on the same over to the safe hands of Shahid Afridi at square leg. But the captain had done his job, after a second partnership of 73 for the second wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan, the second highest scorer with 55 off 61 balls with five fours. Shivnarine Chanderpaul chipped in with a useful 36 off 33 but the rest of the Windies batting folded as they tried to accelerate the run rate. Sohail Tanvir and Umer Gul took three wickets apiece in the slog overs. Malik gave Pakistan the breakthrough when he had Chattergoon caught by Manzoor at mid-on in his second over, and then went on to complete his quota of 10 overs in one spell. Afridi removed Sarwan to a leg side catch to Akmal as the two spinners stemmed the West Indies run flow. apassela@thenational.ae