Windies take one back after D/L

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Dwayne Bravo struck a long-hop from Shahid Afridi high over mid-wicket for six before rain interrupted to soothe West Indies’ ailing pride, with a one-run victory over Pakistan under the Duckworth-Lewis Method in the fourth One-day International on Monday.

West Indies finished on 154 for four from 29.5 overs – the total required under the D/L Method – to claim their first victory in the five-match series, and over a Test side other than Bangladesh since June 2009.

The result also ended a run of eight straight defeats for West Indies in this form of the game by Pakistan, and a recent run of six successive defeats against all opposition, stretching back to their penultimate match in the recent World Cup against England.

They owe much to Lendl Simmons. He struck four fours and three sixes in a breezy 76 from 70 deliveries to put them on the right trajectory.

Rain delays before and during the West Indies’ innings, left the hosts to chase 223 for victory from 39 overs, after Mohammad Hafeez struck his second ODI hundred of 121 to Pakistan to 248 for nine from the allocation of 50 overs.

West Indies were then set back early, when Kirk Edwards was caught behind off Junaid Khan for a one-ball duck in the second over.

But Darren Bravo joined Simmons, and they blistered the Pakistan attack, roughing-up newcomer Tanvir Ahmed in particular, whose fourth over cost 20, which included three fours and one six.

They added 56 to get West Indies moving in the right direction before the younger Bravo gifted his wicket to Khan, slicing a rising delivery to third man in the ninth over. He made 21.

The modest Labour Day holiday crowd that defied the weather welcomed Ramnaresh Sarwan with rapturous applause, and it was evident from his 56-ball 28 that his steadying influence had been sorely lacking in the three previous matches.

He shepherded Simmons to his 50 and put on a valuable 75 for the third wicket before he lofted a drive off Hafeez and was caught at long-off in the 25th over.

Simmons fell in the next over caught on the cover boundary off Tanvir to leave West Indies 135 for four, but the weather grew bleaker with every passing second, and Bravo responded to signals from West Indies captain Darren Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson to jam his foot down hard on the accelerator.

Bravo took maximum advantage of the third delivery in the 30th over from Afridi, and two balls later, the skies opened deposited their showery load.

Earlier, Devendra Bishoo again bowled impressively to lead a late West Indies fight-back, following Hafeez’s momentous innings.

The frail-looking leg-spinner collected three wickets for 37 runs from his allotted 10 overs, the elder Bravo captured two for 60 from his 10 overs, and Kemar Roach two for 67 from 10 overs, after the Pakistanis were sent in to bat on a helpful Kensington Oval pitch.

Bishoo helped to transform the complexion of the match, after Hafeez struck seven fours and three sixes in his 138-ball innings to lead the visitors’ batting.

After an early breakthrough, West Indies were under pressure, as Hafeez, whose 100 came from 128 balls, and Asad Shafiq, with 71 from 102 balls that included four fours, added 153 for the second wicket.

Bravo had Shafiq caught at long-on in the 39th over, and Roach had Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi caught at mid-off for eight two overs later to leave the visitors on 182 for three.

Bishoo then swung the match, with the scalps of Misbah-ul-Haq in the 44th over, as well as Hafeez – both bowled – and Hammad Azam – caught at fine leg for one – in the 46th over.

West Indies, sharp in the field, tightened their  grip, with the run outs of Mohammad Salman for a duck and Usman Salahuddin for five before Bravo bowled Tanvir Ahmed in the final over to make things difficult for the Pakistanis at the end.

The final ODI will be played on Thursday at the Guyana National Stadium.

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