Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali struck fiery half-centuries as Pakistan thumped West Indies by 63 runs in the first Twenty20 international in Karachi on Monday.
Rizwan smashed a 52-ball 78 with 10 boundaries — his 12th half-century and 11th this year — while Haider scored a career-best 68 to guide the hosts to 200-6 in their 20 overs.
The visitors were never in hunt of the target as they were dismantled by a superior Pakistan bowling attack and folded at 137 in 19 overs.
Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim took career best 4-40 while spinner Shadab Khan grabbed 3-17.
Opener Shai Hope top-scored with 31 but became one of leg-spinner Shadab’s two wickets in the same over, Shamarh Brooks being the other for five.
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Odean Smith (24), Rovman Powell (23) and Romario Shepherd (21) also had good contributions but never threatened Pakistan.
This becomes Pakistan’s 13th win in 19 Twenty20 internationals against West Indies, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Skipper Babar Azam praised the effort from his batsmen.
“Rizwan and Haider played handy knocks and the way Nawaz finished was outstanding,” said Azam.
“Our spinners bowled well and put them under pressure.”
West Indian skipper Nicholas Pooran admitted his bowlers gave extra runs.
“I think we gave away 20 runs more in the field and there were a few boundaries off the edges too,” said Pooran.
“I loved the effort and energy from the guys tonight. We are a young side but it all comes down to execution.”
Haider Ali is a special talent – but patience is needed from him, fans, media and team management. There will be good days and bad days but the signs are good #Cricket #PAKvWI
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) December 13, 2021
Pakistan were once again anchored by Rizwan who has a phenomenal 2021 in Twenty20 international cricket, having already crossed 1,000 runs in the calendar year.
Rizwan and Haider added 105 for the third wicket after skipper Babar Azam fell without scoring and Fakhar Zaman made just 10, with West Indian bowlers getting early success.
It was a rare failure for Azam — ranked number one in T20I cricket — as he edged a sharp turning ball from spinner Akeal Hossein.
Zaman top edged Shepherd before Rizwan and Haider rescued Pakistan.
Haider cracked four sixes and six boundaries in his 39-ball knock.
Mohammad Nawaz gave the final touches to the innings with a brisk 10-ball 30 not out spices with two sixes and three boundaries.
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West Indies, hit with three Covid-19 positive tests among their T20I players, brought in Brooks and Devon Thomas from their one-day squad, giving Brooks a debut in the shortest format.
The remaining matches are on Tuesday and Thursday, also in Karachi.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk