Playing for pride
GEORGETOWN – With a whitewash avoided, West Indies will be looking to wrap up an otherwise disappointing One-Day International series against Pakistan with a win in the fifth and final match today.
The regional side lost the first three games to concede the series meekly but rescued a measure of pride when they won the fourth ODI in Barbados on Monday by a run under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Until then, it appeared as if West Indies were headed for yet another ODI whitewash after the drubbing at the hands of South Africa last year.
Skipper Darren Sammy said yesterday he was hoping to use the momentum from that victory to engineer another success at the National Stadium at Providence.
“Coming off the win in Barbados, of course the guys would have gathered some confidence from that win,” the all-rounder told a media conference here.”
“That was a positive and I think we’re looking to build on that momentum and take it in to the final game.”
West Indies have been troubled by their batting in the series, despite the enterprising form of recalled opener Lendl Simmons.
The right-hander has cracked 202 runs in the four games to date, including three successive half-centuries culminating in a superb 76 from 70 balls at Kensington Oval in the last game.
However, totals of 221, 220 and 171 were hardly imposing and left Pakistan with easy victory targets.
Chasing a revised 223 for 39 overs after Pakistan made 248 for nine in the last ODI, West Indies were ahead on the DL method when rain ended the game prematurely.
“The batting is improving like we saw in the last game. We have been [dealing with the spinners] a lot better. It is something we have been working on in the nets with the batting coach (Desmond Haynes),” Sammy noted.
“The good thing to see is that we are not getting out [relatively easy to the spinners]. We occupied the crease a lot and if we could rotate the strike during that period that would be a plus for us.”
The Windies best bowling performance also came in the last game, after they failed to make any serious inroads into the Pakistani batting in the previous three matches.
Again, Sammy said this was reason for hope.
“I think so far in the series the bowlers have done well. The bowling … has not been a problem for us,” he pointed out.
Despite the Windies poor run, a capacity crowd is expected for the game which coincides with a national holiday celebrating the arrival of the first Indian indentured servants to the country.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have never won more than three games in any ODI series against the West Indies but will be looking to break this trend.
Misbah-ul-Haq, who takes over the Test side following the one-day series, has led the batting with 183 runs from four innings while opener Mohammed Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad have both hit centuries already
Their bowling will be led by the dangerous off spin pair of Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez, with captain Shahid Afridi supporting with his leg spin.
WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (captain), Darren Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Davendra Bishoo, Dwayne Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Anthony Martin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons.
PAKISTAN – Shahid Afridi (captain), Abdur Rehman, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Hammad Azam, Junaid Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Salman, Sadaf Hussain, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Taufeeq Umar, Umar Akmal, Usman Salahuddin, Wahab Riaz. (CMC)