Jason Mohammed played the finest innings of his brief international career to pace the West Indies to an historic four-wicket victory over Pakistan in the opening one-day international at the Na-tional Stadium in Guyana on Friday.
Set a daunting target after the visitors rattled up a formidable 308 for five batting first, Mohammed’s blistering unbeaten 91 off just 58 deliveries, aided by an explosive cameo at the end from Ashley Nurse (34 off 15 balls), saw the home side successfully chasing a target of 300 or more in an ODI for the first time ever following 31 pre-vious failed attempts over a 44-year period.
With that weight of history against them, Pakistan looked to have put the West Indies out of the match on a relaid pitch that encouraged attacking strokeplay.
Mohammed Hafeez led the tourists’ batting effort with a top score of 88 to temporarily quell the rising tide of criti-cism at his position in the batting line-up ahead of prolific youngster Babar Azam.
Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad benefited from an early slice of luck to get to 67 while Shoaib Malik, who also capitalised on continuing errant out-cricket by the West Indies, flailed away for 53 off 38 deliveries as Pakistan equalled their second-highest total against these opponents in the 50-over format of the game.
Nurse enjoyed success amid the carnage, the off-spinning all-rounder finishing with his best ODI figures of four for 62.
West Indies’ chase started badly with the early loss of Chadwick Walton to Mohammad Amir but left-handers Evin Lewis (47) and Kieran Powell (61) kept their team in with an outside chance even if their comparatively pe-destrian progress meant the required run-rate was climbing all the time. Hafeez and Shadab Khan, making his ODI debut after an outstanding T20 series, provided what seemed the critical breakthroughs but Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed paid a heavy price for relying on his faster bowlers to complete victory.
Recognising the threat posed by leg-spinner Khan, Mohammed targeted the pacers to great effect, most of his three sixes and 11 fours coming off them.—Agencies