Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has said the secret behind the team’s clean sweep in the three-match ODI series against the West Indies was keeping the tourists guessing over the team combination in every game.
Pakistan won the third and final ODI by 53 runs under Duckworth-Lewis rule on Sunday with the hosts amassing 26/9 in 48 overs and then bundling out the West Indies for 216 in 37.2 overs.
“We executed our plans and got the desired results. We are trying different combinations with bat and ball. We will try to keep continuity and also test our bench strength,” said Babar Azam.
Though Azam failed with the bat and star quick Shaheen Shah Afridi was rested, it mattered little as Pakistan cruised to an easy win.
It’s not often that the skipper fails with the bat, but that was the case in the third ODI as the Pakistan captain was dismissed for just one by Hayden Walsh.
But in what was a promising sign for Pakistan ahead of next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India, plenty of his team-mates stepped up when required and gave the No.1 ranked ODI batter some help with the willow.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq (62 off 68 balls) contributed another half-century and was deservedly named Player of the Series, while middle-order duo Shadab Khan (86 from 78 balls) and Khushdil Shah (34 off 43 balls) continue to impress during the final overs of an innings.
Up until Sunday’s clash, new West Indies’ white-ball skipper Nicholas Pooran had bowled just three deliveries in ODI cricket, but that changed quickly as the part-time off-spinner claimed four key Pakistan wickets and career best figures (4/48) with the ball.
Pooran found plenty of bounce and turn, sending back Fakhar Zaman (35), Imam-ul-Haq (62), Mohammad Haris (zero) and Mohammad Rizwan (11) to help reduce the hosts to 117/5, but that was as good as it got for the visitors as Shadab Khan and Khushdil Shah ensured Pakistan could post a competitive score with some lofty late hitting.
While Pooran is much more known as a stylish middle-order batter, his latest exploits suggest he could easily develop into a world-class all-rounder with both bat and ball.
Shaheen Afridi was rested for the final ODI of the series and his absence was hardly felt as Pakistan’s strong bowling line-up impressed in the searing Multan heat.
Shadab Khan backed up his performance with the bat by picking up four West Indies wickets, while Hasan Ali bowled well with the new ball to claim the key wicket of Shai Hope (21) and the final scalp of Romario Shepherd (16) to ensure West Indies could not chase down Pakistan’s score.
Debutant Shahnawaz Dahani was lively with the new ball and stayed composed after going for some early runs and was duly rewarded with the wicket of Kyle Mayers for five.
West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran was quoted as saying by ICC after the loss that, “The last two games were disappointing for us. We played poorly with the bat. We did well as a team and going forward that will be the template.”
Violent Clash Erupts Between Rival Supporters During Argentina vs Brazil 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers has been marred in controversy as the match between Brazil and Argentina saw violent clashes between rival supporters before the start of it. The high-profile fixture had to be delayed by 30 minutes as the Marcana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro witnessed ugly scenes, with disturbing visuals emerging on social media.
With the Brazilian and Argentinian players lining up for national anthems, the camera turned towards the stands as a section of rival fans exchanged blows. The local police officials could be seen beating up a section of Argentinian fans with batons and it did not go well with the tourists. By pointing at the violent scenes, Messi and co. decided to walk off the pitch.
PAK vs ENG, CWC 2023: ‘Broke 25 Crore People’s Hopes In 5 Seconds’, Netizens Troll Pakistan As England Almost Kill The Game At Toss
Pakistan cricket fans were left ruing their luck at the toss as it fell in England’s favour at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday. With Jos Buttler winning the toss marking the end of Pakistan’s campaign at the showpiece event, netizens have relentlessly trolled Babar Azam and his men for losing the contest at the toss.
Coming into the game, Pakistan were facing a near impossible equation as winning the toss was the first priority. After winning the toss, Pakistan had to beat them by a massive 287-run margin. As things stand currently, Babar Azam and co. must do the unthinkable, bowling out for a mere 20 runs and getting those in only 1.3 overs, which would be their best-case scenario.
As things stand, the target for Pakistan will get bigger and the overs will keep diminishing. Pakistan fans were already irked as Babar was excluded among the list of captains during the light show at the Gateway of India in Mumbai on Thursday. It’s worth noting that Pakistan haven’t qualified for the 50-over World Cup semi-finals since the 2011 edition.
Pakistan have also made one change from their last match, benching Hassan Ali for an extra spinner in Shadab Khan. England have gone ahead with an unchanged line-up.
CWC 2023: South Africa vs Australia Semi-Final To Be Shifted To Mumbai If Pakistan Reach Knockouts, Confirm ICC Sources
The ODI World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Australia will be shifted to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai if Pakistan qualify for the knockouts, sources in the International Cricket Council confirmed to the Free Press Journal on Thursday.
If Pakistan manage to reach the semis then they will face arch-rivals India once again in this tournament. In that case, the semi-final will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 15.
But if Pakistan don’t reach the semis then India will face either New Zealand or Afghanistan in Mumbai and South Africa will take on Australia in Kolkata as per the original schedule.India are scheduled to play their semifinal match in Mumbai only if they don’t face Pakistan. The Men in Green have refused to play in Mumbai due to security reasons.
Pakistan qualification scenario explained
But Pakistan’s qualification depends on the result of the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka which is being played at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
If New Zealand manage to beat Sri Lanka by a comfortable margin then Pakistan’s qualification will take a hit even if they defeat England in their last league game. A loss against the defending champions in Kolkata on November 11 will automatically knockout Pakistan from the race for the semis.
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