Consolation win in sight for Pakistan even as relentless West Indies look for whitewash
Stafanie Taylor congratulates the Pakistan batters. © Getty Images
When Pakistan last played a home series against Bangladesh in 2019, the visitors snuck to a victory in a last-ball thriller to level the two-match series 1-1. Dejected captain Bismah Maroof rued the missed opportunities and said their “brand of cricket” needs to be reviewed. Two years after that match, the hosts are still searching for their first series win at home, while also preparing for ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
Pakistan showed a lot of potential in the chase of 253 during the first ODI with Iram Javed and Aliya Riaz holding the fort. Riaz, who batted at six, scored 46 off 61 and was composed throughout her innings. The failure of the top order meant the lower middle-order was left with too much to do with the required run-rate mounting up. In the second ODI, Pakistan’s batting line-up was clueless against the pace of Shamilia Connell and the off-spin of Hayley Matthews.
Pakistan’s top-order was boosted with the inclusion of captain Javeria Khan and allrounder Omaima Sohail but, dot ball pressure led to odd shot selections and derailed a relatively easy chase. They may want to send Riyaz up in the batting order in the absence of Nida Dar. She has proved herself worthy of that opportunity by being the highest run-scorer in the Pakistan Cup One Day tournament with one century and three half-centuries in seven matches.
Despite Anam Amin’s career-best bowling figures, inexperienced Pakistan were not able to stop the Deandra Dottin juggernaut in the first ODI on her way to a magnificent century. The inclusion of Diana Baig boosted their hopes in the second match and the bowlers were virtually faultless bowling West Indies out for just 153. Talent of young Fatima Sana was on display as she took important wickets of Rashada Williams and Kyshona Knight.
Sohail was one of the consistent bowlers during the domestic competition and if she can deliver that at the international level as well, it will be a welcome addition to Pakistan's array of left-arm based spin attack. Riaz has bowled only three overs in the series and Pakistan may have failed to utilise her talent with the ball so far. In the absence of Dar, Amin has stepped up and the hosts would like to see her form continue.
West Indies as a squad, on the other hand, are shaping nicely ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers. The power-hitting of Dottin and Matthews helped them go past 250 in the first ODI as they took full advantage of inexperienced Pakistan bowling. They were undone by a relatively better bowling performance from the hosts in the second ODI, but Dottin was still the key as she scored 34 off 50 balls.
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In the first clash, West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor became the first player to score 1000+ ODI runs against Pakistan, but her lack of form otherwise may concern the team. Kyshona batting at three has only scored in single digits and West Indies management would like to see her firing soon ahead of the global event in Zimbabwe.
Matthews has led the bowling attack for West Indies with seven wickets in the series so far. She inspired a collapse in the second match as Pakistan failed to chase the target by 37 runs. The visitors were guilty of leaking the runs late in their bowling innings in both matches, which may cost them against the unpredictable Pakistan unit.
West Indies have already sealed the three-match series. Will Pakistan win the final match of the series to finish the series on a high and travel to Zimbabwe with some confidence?
West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (c), Anisa Mohammed (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams
Pakistan: Javeria Khan (c), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sandhu, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz (wk)