Tuesday 13 March 2007 

West Indies Wrap Up Comfortable Victory In Jamaica

The World Cup opener went the way of the hosts who, thanks to a disciplined and incisive bowling performance, were able to successfully defend 241, bowling out Pakistan for 187 to secure a 54 run win.

The bowling performance mirrorred the late stages of their batting as Dwayne Smith (3-36) and Dwayne Bravo (3-42) strangled the Pakistan middle order after Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell had made the early breakthroughs.

Shoaib Malik top-scored with a well made 62, but he had run out of partners once Inzamam-ul Haq (37) and Mohammad Yousuf (36) were both removed by Smith.

Both had been well set and were looking comfortable and had shared a stand of 60 before Smith induced an edge from Yousuf and trapped Inzamam in front.

The pair came together at 39-3 and had added 45 runs to push Pakistan on to 84-3 at the halfway stage of their innings. Both players were forced to start circumspectly, but once Inzamam unleashed a crunching pull and a glorious cover drive off of the tiring Daren Powell, the shackles seemed to be broken and Pakistan began to ease themselves back into the match.

Akmal was brilliantly caught by Dwayne Bravo at backward point for a golden duck.

Both Taylor and Powell took an early wicket as Pakistan lost Imran Nazir (6) and Younis Khan (9) before the score was on 17. Mohammad Yousuf and Mohammad Hafeez briefly resisted before Hafeez offered a simple catch to Brian Lara off of Daren Powell for 11.

Earlier, a stirring half-century from Marlon Samuels, an enigmatic 49 from Ramnaresh Sarwan and some brutal late-order hitting from Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo dragged West Indies up to a score of 241-9 in their World Cup opener against Pakistan.

Samuels was the star of the show hitting 63 having come in with the score on 77-3 at the halfway point. He shared a partnership of 91 with his captain Brian Lara and he set the tone for the late acceleration by targeting first Ifthikhar Rao and then Danish Kaneria who were made to suffer the full force of the Jamaican's bat.

Once Lara (37) and Samuels fell, the West Indians threatened to lose their way as Denesh Ramdin (1) and Jerome Taylor (2) fell cheaply, but some late-order slogging that saw 57 runs come from the last 5 overs pushed their score past 200.

Lara fell caught behind off of Mohammad Hafeez and Samuels mistimed a shot and skied a simple catch for Shoaib Malik in the deep.

The two Dwaynes, Smith and Bravo then entertained the crowd with 32 from 15 balls and 16 from 17 respectively. Even Corey Collymore got in on the act, thumping a six from the last ball of the innings.

Rao Iftikhar was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, taking 3-44 having bowled with superb control throughout. Nonetheless, having had the West Indies in trouble early on, Pakistan may feel that they let slip a golden opportunity.

The West Indies had slipped to 77-3 at the halfway point of their innings having lost key men Chris Gayle (2), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (19) and Ramnaresh Sarwan for 49.

Chris Gayle was caught behind off of Umar Gul for 2, and Ramnaresh Sarwan was dropped the very next ball before a 57 run partnership between Sarwan and Chanderpaul put the home side back on the right track.

Sarwan announced his arrival at the crease with a wild drive off his first ball and was lucky to be dropped at slip by Younis Khan.

That passage of play couldn't fail to bring back memories of the collapse against India but such a capitulation looked less likely once Sarwan struck two fours to get himself, and his side going, and although Umar Gul, Rana Naved and Rao Iftikhar bowled well, Sarwan and Chandepaul were able to add a fifty partnership without huge alarm in which Sarwan was much the aggressor with Chanderpaul uncharacteristically subdued.

Both batsmen fell to the impressive Rao Iftikhar, both caught behind; Chanderpaul brilliantly by Kamran Akmal, Sarwan simply caught by the atoning Younis Khan. His knock included 7 fours without him ever looking in good touch.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007

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