Pakistan ensured a share at least of the Twenty20 series spoils after beating the West Indies by three runs on Thursday. Forced to bat first, Pakistan was all out for 132.
The West Indies was cruising in reply until teenage Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who took 3-7 in his debut last Sunday, was introduced and claimed 4-14. The run rate required rose sharply, and the home side needed 14 off the last over. Medium-fast bowler Hasan Ali conceded two boundaries to start the over, then found his line and length to give the West Indies little else.
Pakistan leads the four-match series 2-0. The last two matches are this weekend. The West Indies, easily overhauled on Sunday, won the toss and decided to bowl first. Captain Carlos Brathwaite led a sterling effort to limit Pakistan to 132, taking three wickets, holding two catches, and making a run out.
Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad were laying a foundation until Brathwaite gave himself the ball and took out Azam at 41-2. Fakhar Azam, normally an opener but making his debut in the middle of the order, made 5, the same as the man he replaced, Mohammad Hafeez in the first T20.
Shoaib Malik took 15 off Brathwaite’s second over, but the latter got him in his third, out for 27 off 20 balls. Pakistan was five down for 87. Khan and Wahab Riaz contributed a valuable 36 for the ninth wicket before both fell in the last over.
West Indies’ chase was bumpy at the start. There were three collisions, the first leading to opener Evin Lewis running himself out, and the third sending Pakistan’s Shehzad to hospital. West Indies batsman Chadwick Walton ran into the back of Shehzad, who had his neck braced before he was taken off on a stretcher with neck pain and possible concussion.
Khan stalled West Indies’ momentum, as he did on debut last Sunday. He bowled Walton through the gate for 21 in his second over, got Kieron Pollard stumped and Rovman Powell bowled for a duck in his third, and got the outside edge of Marlon Samuels on 44 in his fourth and last. West Indies slumped to 77-5. From then on, the run rate strangled the home side.
With 14 runs needed to win from the last over, Sunil Narine sent Ali’s first two poor deliveries to the boundary, and the crowd sensed a comeback. A wide added to the tension. But Ali suddenly rediscovered his groove, and ran out Narine off the penultimate ball.
Needing five off the last ball, Jason Holder could score only one. Pakistan won its sixth straight T20, five of them at the West Indies’ expense.