Brave West Indies go down despite Pooran’s career best 64
3rd T20 International
Venue: National Stadium, Karachi
Toss: West Indies on and chose to bat
Result: Pakistan won by 7 wickets
West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran hitting his highest T20I score was upstaged by Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam who guided Pakistan to their highest successful chase in T20I cricket on Thursday. The left-handed Pooran took the initiative and played some breathtaking stroke as he led the way in the team’s final international match for the year. He scored 64 off 37 balls and shot filled 40s from opening duo Brandon King and Shamarh Brooks to post a challenging 207-3. But a 158-run stand between Rizwan and Babar, in just 15.1 overs, all but ensured a 3-0 scoreline.
Earlier in the day, the game discussions were heled by Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket West Indies when the game was given the go-ahead. This after Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, and Justin Greaves tested positive for COVID-19 – as West Indies had nine positive cases in their camp. They were already without Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers – all three had tested positive at the start of the tour – and Devon Thomas, who had a finger injury.
The side, though, put up their best performances of the series but that wasn’t enough to prevent defeat. On his 27th birthday, King followed up his maiden T20I fifty in the previous game to produce another good innings. Highlights of knock included: opening his account with back-to-back fours off Mohammad Nawaz in the first over and launching Mohammad Wasim Jr for a 98-metre six as the ball landed on the roof of the deep-midwicket stand.
West Indies finished the powerplay on 66-1. Brooks, who was batting on 21 off 16 balls at that point, got a life as he skipped down the track against Nawaz but ended up skying it towards long-on, where Iftikhar Ahmed and Muhammad Hasnain, running in from long-off failed to take catch. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan ended up paying the price for that drop as Brooks hit him for three sixes in four balls in the next over, but just like King, he too fell short of his half-century.
Reflecting on the match and tour Pooran said: “I felt that the last two overs, we definitely lost momentum. Pakistan bowled well in the back end. We were 20 runs short on this wicket. Very tough to prepare for the virus. I am very proud of the way they have played. We went from strength to strength every game. It’s a special team, a special bunch of guys. We competed throughout the series.”