Hafeez, Pakistan miserly in 7-run win over Windies

The Nation  |  Aug 02, 2021

PROVIDENCE - Pakistan have taken a 1-0 series lead over the West Indies, defending 157 largely thanks to a miserly spell from Mohammad Hafeez.

Hafeez’s spell of 1/6 included 19 dot balls, and stifled the hosts in their quest for first blood in the series, with Pakistan holding on by 7 runs despite the best efforts of a fast-finishing Nicholas Pooran. The off-spinner bowled a maiden over to left-hander Evin Lewis, and his four overs equalled Pakistan’s most economical T20I spell, joining M Amir who finished with figures of 2/6 against United Arab Emirates in February 2015. Kuwait’s M Aslam boasts the best economy rate in a four-over T20I spell, claiming 2/3 against Saudi Arabia in 2020.

Put into bat by the hosts, Pakistan finished on 157/8, a modest score considering a Powerplay of 55/1. After losing opening partner Sharjeel Khan, M Rizwan raced along with captain Babar Azam, though the partnership of 67 was brought undone by Lewis, whose direct hit from 25 metres left the diving Rizwan well short. 

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Babar raised his bat for his 20th T20I fifty, though his stay at the crease ended soon after, adjudged caught behind after a successful review by Jason Holder and skipper Kieron Pollard. The dismissal put Pakistan’s innings in a skid, with the likes of Fakhar Zaman and the lower order only able to muster 23 runs in the last four overs. Holder finished with 4-26, with the ever-consistent Bravo claiming 2-24.

Hafeez conceded just five runs across his first two overs, also dismissing Andre Fletcher, with his maiden coming in the fifth over of the innings. Making the most of a slower surface, Shadab Khan was also tight in his spell, conceding just the one boundary as the hosts tried their utmost to relieve the pressure. Pooran (62 not out) was the only player able to break free in the chase, hitting four fours and six sixes in his 33-ball stay at the crease. 

With little help around him, Pakistan continued to put the foot down through the work of Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi who picked up the wickets of Chris Gayle (16) and Pollard (13) respectively. Needing 20 off the last over, Afridi held firm, only conceding boundaries off the last two balls with the match already decided. 

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SCORES IN BRIEF

PAKISTAN 157 for 8 (Azam 51, Rizwan 46, Holder 4-26) beat WEST INDIES 150 for 4 (Pooran 62*, Hafeez 1-6) by seven runs. 

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