GROS ISLET: Pakistan were again indebted to captain Misbah-ul-Haq and the late aggression of Umar Akmal in totalling 229 for six against the West Indies in the third one-day international at the Beausejour Stadium on Friday.
In his usual calm, unruffled manner, Misbah compiled a topscore of 75 to steady the innings after the early loss of both openers while Akmal swatted an unbeaten 40 off 31 deliveries, dominating an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 52 with Wahab Riaz (19 not out) to give the tourists a fighting chance on a pitch offering considerably more pace and bounce than for the first two ODIs in Guyana.
Fast-medium bowlers Jason Holder and Dwayne Bravo took two wickets apiece but skipper Bravo’s decision to persist with himself over the final overs proved costly.
It was a bewildering decision given that Marlon Samuels was only allowed three overs, which cost four runs.
Playing in front of his home fans, former captain Darren Sammy completed his 10-over spell for a cost of 30 runs while claiming the wicket of opening batsman Nasir Jamshed.
Misbah’s effort was ended in the 45th over via a Bravo yorker, leaving him still short of that elusive first ODI hundred.
He has now extended his record for the most half-centuries in this form of the game — 27 — without getting to three figures.
During the course of his innings the 39-year-old became the most prolific run-scorer so far this year in the 50-over-a-side format.
Energised by the assistance from the Beausejour pitch, the West Indies bowlers claimed the first three wickets via miscued pulls and hooks, Kemar Roach displaying impressive presence of mind to snare Ahmed Shazad on the fine-leg boundary as he tossed the ball upwards before momentum took him over the rope and returned onto the field to complete the catch to give fellow-Barbadian Holder the first wicket of the match.
Debutant Haris Sohail took some time to get going but contributed a useful 26 in a 60-run fourth-wicket partnership with his captain that was essential that Pakistan managed some sort of platform that allowed for the late assault by Akmal and Wahab, especially given the swift demise of Shahid Afridi to Holder.