A scintillating ninth ODI century by Shoaib Malik and a fighting knock of 81 off 86 balls from Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan clinch the all-important series, as they convincingly win the third ODI match against West Indies by six wickets at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Tuesday (Apri 11).
The veteran pair — sharing a combined experience of 430 ODI matches — forged a vital 113-run stand for the fourth wicket after a wobbly start to ensure Pakistan cruise to victory with a little less than 7 overs to spare. With this win, Pakistan has also emboldened their case for automatic qualification into ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which features only top eight teams.
Chasing a competitive 234 for victory, Pakistan were reduced to 36 for 3 at one stage, with Kamran Akmal (0), Babar Azam (16) and Ahmed Shehzad (3) already back in the hut. But Malik and Hafeez, slowly and steadily, began turning the game in Pakistan’s favor after the pair had survived a crucial spell of spin bowling by Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nurse.
By the time Sarfraz arrived at the crease to join his senior comrade, Pakistan needed another 85 runs to take the series, which proved to be a walk in the park for the visitors in the end.
Earlier, West Indies had posted 233 after opting to bat first, mainly due to the contributions from Shai Hope 71(112) and Jason Mohammad, who score a quick-fire 59 off 64 deliveries. After a mini-collapse that saw the hosts slip to 68 for 3 at one stage, Hope and Mohammed combined for a key 101-run stand to put West Indies back on track.
Mohammad Amir was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan as he picked up 2-41 in his 9 overs, while Junaid Khan returned figures of 2-60.
WIvPAK, 3rd ODI, Match Summary:
Pakistan 236 for 4 (Malik 101*, Hafeez 81) beat West Indies 233 for 9 (Hope 71, Mohammed 59) by six wickets
“First, I will thank the almighty. Our bowlers really bowled well. Then Hafeez and Malik batted really well on a tough wicket in the second innings. No amount of praise is enough for the experienced batters. The credit goes to all of them. It was important ahead of the Champions Trophy. The boys listen to me despite me getting angry on them at times. I do keep my calm from behind the sticks as well.” Sarfraz Ahmed, captain Pakistan, said.
“We did not get enough runs. We thought it would spin. They played spin really well and we did not get wickets. We started well with the ball, we had them under pressure but did not get wickets in the middle overs. Credit to Hafeez and Malik. Credit to the groundsman for producing one of the better pitches here at Guyana.” Jason Holder, captain West Indies, said.