West Indies Do Just Enough To Beat Pakistan
West Indies returned to the venue of their 2004 ICC Champions Trophy success to beat Pakistan in very similar circumstances in their opening match of the 2013 tournament.
The Oval hosted their two-wicket victory over England almost nine years ago and after bowling Pakistan out for 170, they made heavy weather of their run chase before limping over the line to win - by two wickets once again.
Only two players reached double figures for Pakistan after they were to put in to bat, and both Misbah-ul-Haq (96 not out) and Nasir Jamshed (50) scored half-centuries.
That, however, was not quite enough despite Mohammad Irfan taking three wickets and both Saeed Ajmal and Wahab Riaz one apiece, the West Indies scrambling home in the 41st over.
Chris Gayle top scored with 39 and both Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard made 30.
The match was not without its noteworthy moments, Roach's early spell as good as anything the tournament as seen to date, although it was arguably matched for pace, hostility and destruction by Irfan's later in the day.
Pakistan were reduced to 15 for three and should have been 17 for four when Misbah edged to Denesh Ramdin, who dropped the ball, but tried to claim the catch regardless. He will face a hearing on Monday having been charged with 'conduct that is contraray to the spirit of the game'.
Both Jamshed and Misbah were forced to survive at first before expanding to play more strokes, Jamshed leading the way and Misbah following much later on, showing a range of sweeps and some more conventional straight and square hitting as he scored a new career-best.
Once Jamshed had departed, however, he received scant support. Narine removed Shoaib Malik for nought and Kamran Akmal for two and Misbah's disappointment was obvious for all to see when both Wahab Riaz (6) and Saeed Ajmal (2) were run out.
Irfan hung around for 14 balls, scoring two, and helped Misbah move the score from 138 to 170 before Ravi Rampaul wrapped things up.
Irfan then had Johnson Charles caught on the pull for nine and Darren Bravo beaten for pace and caught behind for nought to reduce West Indies to 15 for two.
Gayle and Samuels came together to move the score on to 78 before Gayle was bowled by Ajmal. One over later, Ramnaresah Sarwan was caught behind off Wahab and when Samuels was stumped off Mohammad Hafeez, at 94 for five the match was in the balance.
Pollard hit three fours and a six in 58 balls, playing exactly the type of innings the situation required and with captain Bravo, he took the score on to 137, when he too succumbed to the Wahab-Akmal combination.
Bravo was trapped in front by Ajmal for 19 and Narine made 11 in eight balls before edging the returning Irfan to Akmal but Ramdin kept his head with an unbeaten 11 and Roach made five not out to get the West Indies off to a winning start.
© Cricket World 2013
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CT 2013 Fixtures
Champions Trophy History
1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies