In a T20 game, you usually expect scores in the region of 200 these days. But, Dubai is the kind of surface where you need to be a bit more circumspect. This is why the venue hasn’t produced a lot of high scoring games. With international matches not being played in Pakistan, the national team has been playing all their games in the Middle East over the last few years. And, their expertise of the conditions came to the fore in the second match against West Indies, as they clinched the series with ease.
Pakistan batted first, with the knowledge that they did not need to go on an all-out attack to keep West Indies on the back foot. And they did so very smartly. After losing Sharjeel Khan early, Khalid Latif and Babar Azam consolidated nicely to put Pakistan in a position from where they could build towards a match-winning total. While Azam was disappointingly dismissed before his reached his 20s, Latif carried on and made an impressive 40 from 36 balls. His innings gave the team the perfect launch pad for the last 10 overs, and they did not disappoint.
In the second half of Pakistan’s batting, their experienced duo of Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed, who is now the T20 captain, put their hands up. Malik was in spanking form, and his 37 from 28 featured some big hits. Malik has been disappointing in recent times, but on Saturday, he clearly batted with intent, and played the kind of innings which he is renowned for. On the other hand, skipper Ahmed continued his great form. His innings was a typically combative one, with a mix of great running and some well-timed boundaries, which helped Pakistan finish on a high.
Pakistan’s bowling also continued to be impressive. Sohail Tanvir brought out all his experience in the format, and his three-for shut down West Indies’ chase pretty early on. His wickets included the big ones of Ewin Lewis and Marlon Samuels. His 3 for 13 in four overs ensured West Indies were never in the hunt. Imad Wasim, the star performer in the last game, again made an impact. Although he picked up only one scalp, it was the significant one of opener Johnson Charles. He also kept things extremely tight, and built the pressure up on the West Indies.
West Indies were extremely disappointing in all aspects of the game. They did not pick up enough wickets with the ball, and were again poor in the field. Samuel Badree was economical, but only ended up claiming one wicket. A lot was dependent on Sunil Narine, if West Indies had to restrict Pakistan, but he finished with disappointing figures of 0 for 36. The others too could not make much impact. Further, their batsmen also flopped. They needed major contributions from the experienced trio of Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard. All of them failed, and it was not surprising that the West Indies ended up faltering.
--By A Cricket Analyst