Umar Akmal Guides Pakistan Home
Pakistan opened their 2009 ICC Champions Trophy account, but they were pushed harder than many thought they would be by the West Indies before they sealed a five-wicket win in Johannesburg.
The West Indies were indebted to a maiden One-Day International half-century from Nikita Miller to rescue them from the depths of 47 for seven and post a score of 133, before Pakistan reached 134 for five in the 31st over, largely thanks to an innings of 41 not out in 51 balls from Umar Akmal.
The West Indies won the toss and chose to bat first but were quickly in trouble when Mohammad Aamer struck to remove Dale Richards (1) and his fellow new-ball bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan dismissed Andre Fletcher for seven, caught by Imran Nazir.
Travis Dowlin lasted two balls before Aamer struck again to have him caught and despite 18 from Devon Smith, the West Indies were soon reeling at 47 for seven when Chadwick Walton marked his ODI debut with a golden duck.
Darren Sammy (25) put on 38 with Miller, who struck six fours and one six in his 57-ball innings of 51 that at least got the West Indies up past the 100 mark.
Miller was the last man to fall in the 35th over when he was caught by Shoaib Malik off of Shahid Afridi, the stand-in Pakistan captain becoming the fifth bowler to pick up a wicket.
Despite only having a modest total to defend, the West Indies had Pakistan worried as four wickets from Gavin Tonge put them under pressure.
He struck early to have Imran Nazir bowled for five and Kamran Akmal reached the same score before edging to Walton. Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf both scored 23 before also falling to Tonge, Malik's dismissal a regulation edge but Yousuf's a strangle down the leg-side that didn't appear to get near the bat.
Misbah-ul-Haq struggled to get going, scoring just six before he too edged behind but they were fortunate that Umar Akmal produced a gem of an innings to guide them home.
He paced things beautifully, leaving plenty of balls early on as he got in and proceeded to punish the West Indians by scoring six boundaries all round the wicket, leaving Shahid Afridi subdued - when the half-century stand for the sixth wicket came up, he had contributed just 13.
Afridi was captaining the side in the absence of Younus Khan through injury.
© Cricket World 2009