Pakistan 205 for 3 (Babar 97*, Talat 63) beat West Indies 123 (Walton 40, Amir 3-22) by 82 runs
A significant difference in quality between teams isn’t like jetlag; it doesn’t wear off in 24 hours. Pakistan turned in another dominant performance in the second game, as they had in the opener on Sunday, thumping West Indies by 82 runs to take an unassailable lead in the three-match series. An unbeaten 58-ball 97 by Babar Azam powered Pakistan to their highest ever T20I score, two more than yesterday’s 203. Hussain Talat, Man of the Match on Sunday, more than played his part in a 119-run partnership with Babar, smashing 63 off 41 balls.
Fakhar Zaman fell early to a sharp bouncer from Rayad Emrit, but it wasn’t going to prevent the bowlers from copping relentless punishment. The fielding by West Indies was well below par again. Like replays from the first game, fielders on the boundary let simple pick-ups slip through their fingers for fours. Under pressure from a confident, ruthless Pakistan batting line-up, the bowlers’ lengths went haywire.
A side that has won 16 of its last 19 T20Is now, Pakistan’s batsmen were getting help they didn’t need. Even more poignant was the lack of self-belief with which West Indies carried themselves. At one point, they barely appealed for an lbw that, on review, saw Babar saved by inches on the umpire’s call.
Pakistan would be encouraged by the cameo Asif Ali played, because it bodes well for the future of their power-hitting. Long bemoaned as a striking weakness in Pakistan’s game, Asif, whose penchant for big sixes came to light in the recently-concluded PSL, showed he could be the solution. It was only 14 off 8 balls, with one six, a bottom-hand jab off the back foot, would have caught batting coach Grant Flower’s eyes, who singled him out as an exciting prospect from this year’s PSL.
The only disappointment for Pakistan in the first innings was Babar’s failure to get to his hundred. Incredibly, Ahmed Shehzad’s 111 against Bangladesh is still the only time a Pakistan batsman has scored a century. Babar had his chance in the final over, but his timing deserted him. Kesrick Williams hit his lengths and varied his pace well enough to keep the ball away from Babar, but his hunger, undimmed so far, bodes well for Pakistan.
West Indies, in response, avoided the catastrophe of the first game, but it was clear within a few overs that the result would be the same: a comfortable win for Pakistan. The asking rate, over 10 at the start of the innings, stifled West Indies before the chase had even begun, and other than Chadwick Walton, no top-order batsman looked even close to being up to the task.
West Indies scored only 30 runs in the Powerplay, and though they had lost only one wicket by then, the required rate had already ballooned to almost 13. Once Shadab Khan cleaned Walton up – with a beautiful flipper – he had scored 40 of his side’s 50 runs, it was only about how many Pakistan would win by.
Mohammad Amir found his lengths and hit his yorkers often. Hasan Ali was his usual wily self and Shadab was lethal and potent. Pakistan hadn’t let the lack of competitiveness dim their intensity, keen to drive home the advantage as much as possible. Amir looked especially sharp; the yorker that castled opposition captain Jason Mohammed worth waiting for even in the backdrop of rather dull cricket. His disguise of the slower balls was also world-class as he finished with figures of 4-0-22-3.
West Indies mentally checked out of the game well before it officially ended, the point epitomised in the 18th over. Emrit cut Amir to the boundary, wide enough of third man to allow the batsmen to comfortably run two. Williams on the other hand, never so much as looked at his partner, and both batsmen found themselves at one end. Emrit didn’t even bother looking back, never breaking his stride as he jogged back to the pavilion.
Hasan and Talat picked up the final two wickets to seal the demolition, as West Indies were bowled out for 123, just about more than double their total from the first match.