Misbah helps Pakistan cruise to series victory over West Indies

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  • Misbah helps Pakistan cruise to series victory over West Indies

Misbah-ul-Haq batted through the innings and drove Pakistan to a series-clinching, 3-wicket win over West Indies in the 3rd  One-day International of the five match series on Thursday at Bridgetown,Barbados.

Misbah-ul-haq cracked four fours and a six in an unbeaten knock of 62 from 109 balls,while new all-rounder Hammad Azam supported him well with his gallant 36, and Umar Akmal got a quick 30, as the Pakistanis reached their target of 172 with 29 balls left at the Kensington Oval.

Pakistan were seen reeling at 12 for 3 due to a fiery opening burst from semaer Ravi Rampaul, who also later got Umar Akmal caught behind by Simmons to leave the tourists on 49 for 4 in the 12th  over of the innings,ending with 4 for 32 from 9 overs.

Lanky Hammad Azam joined hands with Misbah and added 78 for the 5th wicket to put Pakistan right back into the game before leggie Devendra Bishoo took 3 for 42 from the allotted 9 overs,subject to a rain-curtailed 45 over game, to kick start a slide that saw the visitors struggling at 148 for 7 at the 36th over mark.

 Wahab Riaz joined hands with Misbah to take the Pakistanis over the line 5 overs later, when the big fast bowler gave the kitchen sink to a short-pitcher from Dwayne Bravo to dispatch it way over deep backward square leg and out of the park.

Earlier on, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was the star with 3 for 29 from 8.4 overs while left arm seamer Wahab Riaz returned 3 for 38 from 8 overs to spring up Pakistan's victory chances, as they finished their opponents’ batting line-up for 171 in just 43.4 overs after electing to field.

The Pakistanis looked under immense pressure, when West Indies pair of make-shift wicket-keeper,Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo easily added 86 for the 2nd wicket via a flurry of handsome strokes before Saeed Ajmal and Wahab Riaz brought Pakistan back into contention in a game that was cut down to 45 overs-a-side.

Saeed hung onto a return catch to dismiss Simmons for a brave 51, and Mohammad Hafeez got Trinidadian Darren Bravo lbw for a fantastic 47 to leave the home team on 118 for three in 28 overs.

Both  Saeed Ajmal and Wahab Riaz made sure there was no chance of a  fight-back from the rest of the  batsmen, as they completely failed to contribute any worthwhile scores in front of a rather sad-looking crowd.

Pakistan made no team changes, but West Indies made two,with Anthony Martin and Carlton Baugh Jr making way for fast bowlers Andre Russell and Ravi Rampaul.

            Play began 105 minutes later than the scheduled starting time, after bad weather delayed the start on the famous day on which Barbados celebrates its national heroes and figures, including the great former West Indies all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers.

The win means Pakistan have prevailed back-to-back in their last 8 ODIs against the West Indies in a period spanning over the past four years, including the 10-wicket mauling in the World Cup 2011 quarter-final in Mirpur,Bangladesh.

The 4th ODI will kick off next Monday at the same venue,Kensington Oval, with the fifth match scheduled 3 days later at the Guyana National Stadium or Providence as they popularly call it.

 It was an ordinary batting display from both sides but the mediocre target of 172 was far too little to defend.Rampaul caused a few stutters in the tourists’ camp, plucking out all the first 4 wickets to fall.However,Misbah,the Pakistani saviour off late,dug in and was aided well by lanky Hammad Azam,calming the nerves in the Pakistan change room. However,3 wickets within no time by Devendra Bishoo got the West Indies right back into the game.Fortunately for Pakistan,Misbah stood stood like a lone warrior and saw the team home, scoring a 62 not out and he is yet to be dismissed in this series.

The West Indies bowling was much better, with Ravi Rampaul returning to the team and ripping through the top four batsmen with 4 wickets while leg-spinner Bishoo struck thrice.