Nottingham– West Indies kicked-off its World Cup 2019 campaign on an impressive note after thrashing Pakistan by seven wickets at Trent Bridge, here on Friday. After bundling out the Green Brigade on a paltry 105 runs, the Carribean opener and self-proclaimed Universe Boss Chriss Gayle smashed a 34-ball half century while unbeaten Nicholas Pooran contributed with 19-ball 34 runs to ensure their side reach home safely.
Chasing the meagre target, Windies openers — Gayle and Shai Hope (11 off 17) started on a cautious note, putting 32 runs in the first four overs. Just when the partnership looked developing, Mohammad Amir gave Pakistan some respite as he packed back Hope in the fifth over when the Windies were at 36 runs.
While Gayle continued to rotate the strike and kept the scoreboard ticking, Amir once again came with a breakthrough as he dismissed new comer Darren Bravo (0), leaving West Indies at 46/2.
Pooran and Gayle were then involved in a 31-run partnership, inching Windies closer towards the target however, Amir cut short the latter’s stay in the 11th over. WIth West Indies needing another 29 runs for victory, Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer (7 not out off 8) denied the Green Brigade any further onslaughts as the duo comfortably steered West Indies to an easy win in 13.4 overs.
Earlier, overcast conditions and some quality bowlers in the team saw West Indies skipper Jason Holder have no hesitation in winning the toss and bowling first and the result was Pakistan folding up for just 105 as Oshane Thomas (4/27) and Holder (3/42) ran through the Pakistan batting line-up.
All-rounder Andre Russell played perfect second fiddle to the frontline pacers as he finished with figures of 2/4 from his three overs. This is Pakistan’s second lowest total in the World Cup.
Taking strike in overcast conditions, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed had spoken about the need to play out the first few overs cautiously. But that wasn’t to be as Imam-ul-Haq (2) was dismissed by Sheldon Cottrell in the third over of the innings.
Fakhar Zaman (22) and Babar Azam (22) did try to show some fight, but it was all about the Windies bowlers on the day as they looked to keep it simple and hit the right line and length with the wicket and overhead conditions helping them.
The Pakistan batsmen just didn’t seem to have the technique to take on the Windies pacers on a wicket that helped fast bowlers.
Tottering at 83/9, it finally took some hitting from Wahab Riaz (18) as the Pakistan total went past the 100-run mark. Going into the tournament as one of the most unpredictable sides, Pakistan failed to turn their fate as the Windies players walked off with grins on their face after finishing the Pakistan innings in just 21.4 overs.
Brief Scores: West Indies 108/3 in 13.4 overs (Chris Gayle 50, Nicholas Pooran 34 not out; Mohammad Amir 3/26) beat Pakistan 105 all out (Babar Azam 22; Thomas 4/27, Holder 3/42) by 7 wickets. (IANS)