GUYANA: Contrasting half-centuries by Shai Hope and Jason Mohammed lifted the West Indies to 233 for nine against Pakistan in the decisive final fixture of a three-match one-day international series in Guyana on Tuesday.
Struggling to get any sort of rhythm on a pitch offering considerable assistance to the spinners, Hope displayed admirable application in compiling a top score of 71, even if it took him as many as 97 deliveries to get to the 50-run mark.
It was the slowest by a West Indian batsman in an ODI since Darren Bravo took 102 balls to get to fifty against Bangladesh in Mirpur four years earlier.
Mohammed’s excellent run of form in this Caribbean season continued with a fluent 59 off 64 balls with two sixes and five fours, his fourth half-century in six ODI innings. The pair put on 101 for the fourth wicket and lifted the home side from early discomfort to a degree of competitiveness.
However they lost vital wickets in the quest for quick runs over the final overs of the innings, managing just 29 over the last five in which Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed resorted to his faster bowlers to good effect.
Junaid Khan, who had accounted for Evin Lewis at the start of the innings following Jason Holder’s decision to bat first, returned to separate the pair of Hope and Mohammed, having the latter caught at the wicket.
Hope fell to Shadab Khan via a catch at long-on, although the leg-spinner endured the most expensive effort of his young international career, conceding 57 runs off eight overs.
Not surprisingly on a worn, turgid track used for the third consecutive match, finger spinners Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez were difficult for the WestIndies to get away, Wasim conceding only 24 runs from his full allotment of ten overs for the wicket of Kieran Powell, who was deceived and stumped.
Hasan Ali, who claimed five wickets in the 74-run victory on Sunday that levelled the series, had the other opener, Chadwick Walton, bowled off the inside-edge. When Powell fell at 68 for three in the 19th over, West Indies were expected to continue to struggle against an unyielding diet of spin.
Surprisingly though Ahmed did not use Hafeez for his full quota and completely ignored the option of off-spinning all-rounder Shoaib Malik.
West Indies dropped 20-year-old fast bowler Alzarri Joseph from the team for the second ODI and drafted in left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul for his first one-dayer in three-and-a-half years.
Pakistan retained the same eleven that rebounded from defeat in the opening match.