London: West Indies pacer Kemar Roach displayed excellent line and control to destroy Pakistan’s top order in the second match of the Champions Trophy at the Oval here on Friday.
The 24-year-old reduced Pakistan to 15 for three after his team elected to bowl first, and they eventually tied Pakistan down to 170 all out in 48 overs. Roach, who first caught the eye with a hat-trick against Pakistan in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup, again showed how the sub-continent side remain his favourite opposition.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq stood out amidst the ruins with a fighting unbeaten 96 off 127 balls with five boundaries and three sixes. His three maximums all had the stamp of class as they were perfectly timed. Two came in the 45th and 46th overs mainly to pile up as many runs as possible with last man Mohammad Irfan, but in the end he ran out of partners and failed to reach his maiden one-day century. Ten days ago, Misbah celebrated his 39th birthday and he played the fighting knock with great maturity.
Roach began by striking with the last ball of the first over to dismiss opener Imran Farhat. West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo dived in front of first slip to take the catch after Farhat pushed at a good length delivery away from his body.
With the third ball of the fifth over, Roach produced a quicker delivery to clean bowl Mohammad Hafeez for four and, with the first ball of the seventh over, he made Assad Shafiq cut straight into the hands of Ravi Rampaul at third man for nought.
Opener Nasir Jamshed and Misbah repaired the huge blows with a 90-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when it looked like the pair would steer Pakistan to a respectable total, Jamshed, after completing his half-century, hit spinner Sunil Narine without getting into line and the ball went straight into the hands of Rampaul at long-off. Jamshed’s 50 came off 93 balls with five boundaries.
Next man Shoaib Malek fell to his first ball by playing Narine to Bravo at mid-wicket. Narine then struck again, silencing the stadium packed with Pakistan supporters, by dismissing Kamran Akmal. When Wahab Riaz was run out backing up to a straight drive from Misbah that touched bowler Bravo’s hand on its way to the stumps, Pakistan crashed to 110 for six.
When Saeed Ajmal was also run out for two and Junaid Khan fell to a well-judged leaping catch by Chris Gayle at slip, it looked like Pakistan would fold before the 150-run mark.
But Misbah got unexpectedly stubborn support from Irfan and together they put on 32 runs in 7.3 overs.
The run-rate required by the West Indies was only 3.54 per over.
On winning the toss Bravo commented that he decided to bowl first as he thought the wicket would be very good for batting and he wanted his bowlers to use it when it was fresh.
West Indies dropped their Twenty20 World Cup-winning captain and strike bowler Darren Sammy for the match to strengthen their batting.
Misbah remarked that his team would have bowled had he won the toss. He would have loved to use his battery of left-arm pacers to pick up early wickets.