Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan batsman Babar Azam followed up his career-best knock of 97 not out with a superb 51 as his side cruised to an eight-wicket win over the West Indies in the third Twenty20 International in Karachi.
Azam was well supported by his opening partner Fakhar Zaman, who smashed a 17-ball 40, as Pakistan whitewashed the West Indies 3-0.
Opting to bat first, the West Indies lost opener Chadwick Walton in the third over as he was caught by Azam at mid-off off the bowling of Mohammad Nawaz for a duck.
Andre Fletcher and Marlon Samuels made up for the loss of Walton with a 72-run partnership before Samuels was clean bowled by Shadab Khan for 31.
Shadab also dismissed Andre McCarthy, while Fletcher went on to make 52 off 43 balls, which included four boundaries and three sixes, before he was run out by Nawaz.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Rovman Powell fell shortly after, but wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin provided some late fireworks as he struck an unbeaten 42 off 18 deliveries, which included four boundaries and three sixes.
Thanks to Ramdin, the West Indies finished on 153/6 off their 20 overs.
Shadab was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Nawaz, Usman Khan and Faheem Ashraf chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 154 runs to win, Fakhar took the attack to the West Indies right from the get-go and dominated the 61-run partnership he put together with Azam.
Fakhar ended up being caught behind off the bowling of Rayad Emrit for a 17-ball 40, which included six boundaries and two sixes.
Azam and Hussain Talat kept the runs flowing with a 52-run stand, during which Azam brought up his half-century.
Shortly after doing so, Azam was removed by Odean Smith for 51, which came off 40 deliveries and included six boundaries.
Talat and Asif Ali mopped up the remaining runs as Pakistan won the match with 19 balls to spare.
Talat finished on 31 off 28 balls, which included three boundaries, while Asif Ali struck two boundaries and a six during his 16-ball 25.
Emrit and Smith claimed one wicket each.
West Indies captain Jason Mohammed was less than impressed with his side’s performance, and said: “Today wasn’t good enough again, but happier to play a decent game. There were lots of youngsters in our squad, including myself. The Karachi crowd was excellent.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was delighted to have won the series 3-0, and said: “About consistency, when I first took over the captaincy, Mickey Arthur told me that we should become consistent. We are giving the boys a consistent run in the team and so we are flourising.
“Babar, Hasan, Shadab, Fakhar, they’ve all had a long run so we’re getting better. We knew we had won the series, but we still wanted the win today. We are fully trying to always play our best cricket. Yes, this team is ready for the tour abroad. The way the public is backing these boys, so if we get the same support, we can beat even the best of teams. Our team environment is great – Hasan, Amir, Shahzad didn’t play today, but we were confident in our back-up players who started today.
“Karachi has won the hearts of the whole country today. I thought people wouldn’t come today because of the dead rubber, but today they surprised me the most. Credit also goes to the curator for three great tracks and also thank you to the security staff. Finally, I want to say that a lot of people are hurt with no cricket in Pakistan, but we will try our best to have more cricket in this country. Thank you everyone. The people here have made our day today.”
Zaman was named Man of the Match, and said: “I try my best, and the plan with captain and coach is to do whatever I’m best at – so happy that today my innings came off. During the first game, I felt good to bat, but I got run out. In the last match I realised how often I get run out.
“Working hard in the nets so that I can play cricket for long. Now that I’ve played International cricket at home, I know I haven’t played anywhere better before. We youngsters also are a good group together, so we enjoy.”