Pakistan 100-run comfortable win over Kent Spitfires
Swansea-born all-rounder Imad Wasim hit a career-best List A score of 117 not out to help ease Pakistan to a comfortable 100-run win over Kent Spitfires in their opening tour match in blustery Beckenham.
In his 101st List A appearance and in single-digit temperatures more reminiscent to the Gower Peninsula in November, the 30-year-old clattered 13 fours and four sixes at a strike-rate of 150 to see the visitors to a commanding 50-over total of 358 for seven.
In reply, a makeshift Kent side stumbled to 258 all out to lose with more than five overs remaining with only Alex Blake and Ollie Robinson offering sustained resistance.
Spitfires lost openers Sean Dickson and Zak Crawley within seven overs, both to Faheem Ashraf. Dickson miscuing to mid-on while Crawley edged an expansive drive to the keeper.
With nine of his side donning beanie hats to stave off the cold, Yasir Shah, Kent’s overseas professional for 2017, sent down a first-over long-hop that Adam Rouse obliging pulled straight to deep mid-wicket.
Playing on his home-town ground, Blake formed a useful fourth-wicket stand in tandem with Robinson that added 132 in 17 overs. Blake muscled a season’s first 50 off 31 balls with three fours and as many sixes and was only 11 shy of a century and had six sixes when he skied a return catch to Hassan Ali.
Robinson followed soon after, caught behind off Assad Ali for 49, then two more woeful half-trackers from Yasir led to the demise of Shane Snater and James Harris with consecutive deliveries as the Kent tail capitulated.
Due to their lengthy injury list Kent had been granted ECB permission to field loan players Harris, the Middlesex seamer, and Netherlands paceman, Snater. Spitfires also gave a first team debut to teenage Kent Academy graduate, Jordan Cox.
Batting first after winning the toss Pakistan’s left-handed opening partners Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq made up for a five-minute rain delay by cantering to a 50 stand in only 6.4 overs.
Imam was gifted a life with his score on 21 when keeper Rouse, Kent’s acting captain, downed a diving, leg-side chance off the bowling of Fred Klaassen as the batsman aimed to glance.
At the other end, Fakhar posted a chanceless 50 from 39 balls with six fours and a six but, after a 10-minute rain interruption, Imam went after edging an attempted cut against Snater to Rouse, stood up to the stumps.
Left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum made good use of the wind to strike with only his fifth delivery from the Beckenham End. Drifting the ball in from outside off stump, he bowled Babar Azam off his pads to make it 123 for two.
Qayyum removed Fakhar for 76 when, in attempting a reverse sweep, he was well caught overhead at short third man by Snater, then touring captain Sarfaraz Ahmed departed for 10 when he chipped a dipping delivery into the hands of mid-off.
Shoaib Malik (4) followed suit in Qayyum’s next over when the 25-year-old spinner pitched one on middle stump to beat the defensive prod and hit the top of off stump.
Haris Sohail and Imad restored Pakistan’s superiority thereafter with a sixth-wicket stand worth 139 in 19 overs. Haris reached his 50 from 51 balls with three fours and a six, while Imad passed the milestone at a run-a-ball with five fours and a six as Qayyum finished with four for 45 – his best in List A cricket in England.
Kent then gifted Haris a further chance on 72 when Robinson downed skier at deep cover off Snater, but Haris went three runs later after clipping a drive to long-on.
Fred Klaassen got a deserved late scalp having Faheem caught in the deep by Cox off a sliced drive, leaving Imad to plough on to a 73-ball century with 11 fours and three sixes that set the hosts a mammoth pursuit at a run-rate of 7.18 an over – a chase that proved well beyond them.
Kent top-scorer Blake said: “I’ve been feeling pretty good out in the middle but haven’t been scoring to runs I’ve wanted to, so it was nice to get out there on a good wicket and score a few against a pretty good international attack.
“It was disappointing to give it away on 89 and I’m not too sure if I was actually caught. I’ve seen a video of it since and it didn’t look that great, but I didn’t see it because I was walking off with my back to it. ‘Robbo’ called me back and the umpires had a chat, but they upheld the catch.
“Three figures would have been nice, but it wasn’t to be. There’s still a lot to play for in our remaining 50 over games in terms of personal pride and statistics, and it would certainly be nice to get some wins on the board.”
Fresh from his 78-ball career-best Imad Wasim said: “I was born in Wales but raised in Islamabad, so it still felt very cold out there to me. Thank god the match is over and we can all get warm.
“It was a really good surface to bat on. We practiced here yesterday and it was a fantastic wicket. We felt it would be belter, and it was. I wanted to make my mark early on the tour and, as a team, change our game plans for this tour and for the World Cup, so this was a good start.
“I don’t change my plans though, I do what I know best and that’s to go out there and attack. Some days it pays off, others it doesn’t. It felt good today.
“It was so cold though. Even a finger spinner like me struggled to hold the balI, but I felt our quicks did unbelievably well given the weather and our fielding was sharp too. It was a complete game for us.”
©Cricket World 2019