HomeWest Indies in PakistanPakistan faultless, Windies winless: a one-sided series concludes

Pakistan faultless, Windies winless: a one-sided series concludes

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Another series featuring the Windies. Another familiar result. This time, a drubbing of 3-0. Another whitewash. It wasn’t that the last whitewash the Windies suffered came a decade ago. True to their DNA of playing uncertain, vapid and, inconsistent cricket they emerged winless in the New Zealand tour where they were beaten comprehensively, across formats. Thankfully, their fans were saved from the phenomenon of seeing them collapse in the ODIs, for there weren’t any in this series.
It doesn’t take one to be Einstein to figure out why or how the Windies lost to Pakistan. At times, you can see it in the body language that players are simply unable to compete. Not that this was the scenario that failed to add sparkle to Karachi’s city of lights. The Windies players, throughout the course of the three T20s, chipped in with tiny but impressive individual performances. Ryad Emrit was among the wickets. At least, a few of them. Chadwick Walton was able to contribute a quick-fire 40 in the 2nd T20. Denesh Ramdin was able to chip in with a brilliant cameo of 42 off 18, reminding selectors he still had fight left in him.
But that said, the Windies were simply unable to stop the storm that the following 5 Pakistan players generated. It was fitting to spot Pakistan playing to their boldest and exhibiting a brand of fearless cricket. So who were the talents that turned around a big corner in a glorious series for Pakistan?

Fakhar Zaman

If the T20 series could be captured through the lens of one phenomenal site then it would have to be the moment when Zaman danced down the track to Ryad Emrit in the final T20- who can easily bowl at 130s- and hammered him toward mid-wicket for a thumping boundary. Always a great site to watch a batsman coming down the track to a fast bowler, isn’t it? An outrageous talent if you are a bowler and a figure of composure if you are a Pakistan supporter, Fakhar Zaman is among the fearless and amazingly confident batsman who have graced the sport. Throughout the T20 series, he got off his side to a flier and came up with quickfire, attacking starts of 40 and 39 to give Pakistan an early advantage over the waning Windies.

Babar Azam

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Upon the completion of the final T20, Pakistan have in their midst a talent who’s topped the ICC rankings for T20 batsmen. Babar Azam is at the moment ahead of Virat Kohli, not merely in an aggregation of points but also in terms of strike rate. He may be 23, but he bats with the maturity and elan of an experienced campaigner in the game. It could be argued that his unbeaten 97 in the second T20 off just 58 deliveries really turned it around for Pakistan. Interestingly, Azam isn’t a batsman who blasts attacks immediately, rather someone who forces his way onto bowlers by cheekily converting the 1s into 2s and constantly rotating the strike. In the just-concluded T20 series, Azam found the gaps on either side as an investigator out to search for an evidence at all costs.

Faheem Ashraf

A young fast-bowler, 25-year-old Faheem Ashraf is just the kind of young, brooding bowling talent that can take their sport to the next level. With an ability to bowl with a clever mix of variations, even as Faheem Ashraf picked a solitary wicket from the final contest, his pace was menacing enough to push the Windies bowlers to their back-foot. He did enough to curb the scoring rate. This eventually meant that a lust for scoring through big shots would endanger the safety of their wickets.

Shadab Khan

If you are witness to the current structure of cricket, you will find that there’s been an unprecedented comeback of leg-spinners. They are thickly ingrained in a contest. They can’t be done away with. Pakistan has its own share of supreme talents, Shadab Khan being one. His ability to spin the ball vastly in an around the middle and leg stump beautifully complements his googlies. Throughout the 3 T20s, Khan made the Windies batsmen struggle and Pakistan based their triumph against important spinners including Khan. His googly to dismiss Samuels was a peach of a delivery and he was a major cog in Pakistan’s wheels in motion.

Usman Khan Shinwari

Although Shinwari got a solitary game against the Windies, Pakistan can be sure that their shorter-format expert is an adept fast bowler who boasts of the talent to go the long way. During the final T20, Shinwari bowled fearlessly fuller and hit the deck hard. In the final over of the Windies’ inning, he began with three back-t0-back dot balls before Ramdin cut lose on the right armer. But before that Shinwari, in his previous three overs had piled on the pressure of scoring on his competitors by regularly coming up with dot balls.

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