West Indies v Pakistan, 1st T20I, Bridgetown March 26, 2017

Debutant Shadab's guile floors West Indies


Pakistan 115 for 4 (Malik 38*, Azam 29, Holder 2-27) beat West Indies 111 for 8 (Brathwaite 34*, Shadab 3-7) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Legspinner Shadab Khan picked up three wickets to help Pakistan register their fifth successive T20I win © AFP

In a nutshell

For arguably the two most volatile sides in world cricket, this was a rare predictable day as Pakistan eased to a six-wicket win over the West Indies at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. Pakistan won the toss, bowled first and stifled the hosts with spin. Chasing 112, Pakistan, as if to stay true to their reputation, lost their top three cheaply, before Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam took control of the chase and steered them home.

The game was dominated by its youngest player: 18-year old Pakistan legspinner Shadab Khan who enjoyed a debut that bordered on the surreal. He took three wickets with his first eight balls in international cricket as West Indies slumped to 49 for 6. Carlos Brathwaite and Kieron Pollard came together, and two of the game's most fearsome hitters were forced to play a consolidating role. Brathwaite managed to inject some momentum in the closing overs, but all that ensured was his side just about managed to get to three figures.

Pakistan weren't authoritative in response, with Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad reminding everyone why they have spent long stints in international wilderness. However, with the asking rate never rising above six, West Indies' spirited display in the field merely delayed the inevitable.

Where the game was won

It has often seemed no total is too small for Pakistan not to slip up on. Here, they slipped to 49 for 3. But the in-form pair of Malik and Babar, quickly establishing a reputation for consistency, had the clear-headedness to steer the chase with risk-free cricket. They rotated the strike regularly and picked off the poor deliveries to eat into the target. By the time Babar sliced a catch to short third man, Pakistan needed only 18 runs off five overs. The hard work had been done.

The men that won it

Shadab Khan may have been warned by his teammates how playing for Islamabad United was far different to playing for Pakistan, that too in an away game. However, the 18-year old made a mockery of the step up, snaring Chadwick Walton and Lendl Simmons within four deliveries. Walton didn't pick the googly while Simmons dragged a legspinning delivery onto the stumps. Remarkably, Shadab's figures of 4-0-7-3 could have been even better had Kamran Akmal, fielding at backward point, not put down a regulation catch.

The streaks continue

This win means Pakistan have now triumphed in each of their last five T20Is, four of them against the West Indies - the other was a commanding nine-wicket win over England. They are unbeaten since losing to Australia at the World T20 last year, and Sarfraz boasts a 100 percent win record in his five games as Pakistan captain in the format. West Indies' losing run, on the other hand, stretches to four - all of them against Pakistan - and have only won one T20 in the six they've played since being crowned World T20 champions in India last year.

Moment of the match

If the PSL was a dream of sorts for Kamran, he was brought sharply back to reality over the course of the afternoon's events. Playing his first international in nearly three years, with captain Sarfraz having taken over the wicketkeeping role, Kamran was tasked with patrolling the backward point area as Shadab bowled. If he was hoping for an uneventful afternoon, he was to be disappointed. With Shadab's figures reading three wickets for three runs, Pollard sliced one, headed for what seemed a straightforward catch to Kamran. The 35-year old was painfully slow to move towards the ball, and though he reached it in time, put it down, burnishing his reputation for butterfingers even further.

What was more, this was only the second time Kamran was playing as a specialist batsman. The other came in a game against South Africa in 2007. He had dropped a catch then too, Loots Bosman being the batsman reprieved.

Where they stand

Pakistan take a 1-0 lead. The series now moves to Trinidad & Tobago, where the remaining three matches will be played.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roger on March 29, 2017, 23:33 GMT

    Stop referring to the past World Cup. It is NOT the same team. Far from it!

  • jeff290313256 on March 29, 2017, 11:59 GMT

    Holder Brathaite and Selectors Browne and company are distroying wi cricket the players don't want to play under their mgmt,wi will lost all 10 games remaining.Im just saying.

  • Clifford on March 29, 2017, 11:23 GMT

    So, if Kamran Akmal can't field and everybody knows he can't field why is he at backward point where you're supposed to put your sharpest fielders?

  • molab14586992 on March 27, 2017, 21:08 GMT

    I was so happy but we go back to shehzad akmal and hafeez what have you done sharjeel

  • Sid on March 27, 2017, 20:57 GMT

    Why are Pak selectors still bothering with Hafeez and Kamran (infact all Akmal brothers). Even i feel pity for the people in Pak from across the border that they have to bear these non performing assets in their team day in and day out. They have good young talents like sarfaraz, babar etc...but they keep including these guys over other youngsters.

  • WaQar HussAin on March 27, 2017, 20:36 GMT

    Shadab was imperssive no doubt get rid of hafeez talking parrort on the other hand babar should open with shehzad , then kamran/zaman should try shadab for batting then malik follow by sarfraz then imad , hassan ali , tanveer/raees wahab/usman and try to give chance to young guns who perform in psl its a good experince for them and for test squad include imad waseem / jadega of pakistan and asghar along with shah good combination

  • Waqas on March 27, 2017, 19:52 GMT

    Pakistan 1 - 0 up :) What a bowling from Shadab Khan. Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal & Ahmed Shehzad hurting Pakistan batting line-up once again as on many occasions earlier. Do not know which talent selectors have seen in these failure players who are not international material anyway . Kamran Akmal continues his habit of dropping catches in addition. Happy to win the match but not much hope with such batsmen while Champions Trophy is around the corner now.

  •   Kabir Awadhi on March 27, 2017, 19:14 GMT

    mohd hafeez, wahab raiz and sarfraz all r in all 3 format test, ODIs , TWENTY /20 STILL all 10/ 15 years and in 2 decades how many MAN OF MATCH they have they win for pak ? any PCB officier ,coach,selector any in 15 years but all 3 players in the team ? they 3 have some" taveez " in graves to be in all squad in all 3 formats ? shoiab malik should be captain till W.C from CHAMPIONS TROPHY world cup in 2019 , UMAR AKMAL and SOHAIL KHAN to be in squad till CHAMPIONS TROPHY .

  • Josiah on March 27, 2017, 19:09 GMT

    and in INTERNATIONAL cricket, he's a failure. @mngc1. there's no argument for this.

  • Indar on March 27, 2017, 18:29 GMT

    The inform Jason Mohammed is sitting on the bench. Crazy selection policy.

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