Tourists taste 10th ODI series defeat to Pakistan as out-of-form captain Pooran claims shock four-wicket haul
Nicholas Pooran, appointed last month to lead the West Indies into battle against the Netherlands and Pakistan, tasted mixed success on the whistlestop tours and will be under scrutiny because of his recent poor form with the bat.
The Trinidadian, who replaced compatriot Keiron Pollard as skipper, was unable to capitalise on their 3-0 success in Europe. The Windies suffered defeat in each of their three matches against Pakistan, and missed some of their big name players.
Pooran’s form on the back-to-back tours, which started on 31 May and ended today (12 June), must be of personal concern and also a worry for the Cricket West Indies (CWI). He has averaged just 13.5 runs in his first six matches as full-time captain, with a highest score of 25.
However, the 26-year-old wicketkeeper unexpectedly pulled some magic out of the bag by collecting a four-wicket haul from his 10 overs of spin in the 3rd ODI against Pakistan.
He collected his first wicket in his third over by dismissing opener Fakhar Zaman. Pooran then claimed the wickets of Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, and Mohammad Haris to give the tourists a fighting chance with Pakistan reduced to 269-9 off 48 overs.
With pacers Alzarri Joseph and Anderson Phillip rested, it was only Guyana’s medium-fast bowler Keemo Paul who managed to join Pooran in taking more than one wicket.
Pakistan stuttered to 117-5 and the tables appeared to have turned in favour of the tourists. But no.7 batsman Shadab Khan steadied the ship, before being clean bowled by Trinidadian Hayden Seales for a magnificent 86.
A dust storm during Pakistan’s innings reduced the clash to 48 overs, with the Windies set a tough target.
All rounder Shadab then proved the home hero with four wickets, as the Windies battled to 216 all out off 37.2 overs.
The tourists dropped Brandon King, who hit a career-best ODI of 91no from 90 balls in the 2nd ODI against the Netherlands, for this final match. The Jamaican had surprisingly struggled in the initial two games at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Spinner Shadab was enthusiastically cheered on by the home fans as he cleverly captured the wickets of Keacy Carty (33), Rovman Powell (10) and top-scorer Akeal Hosein (60). Opener and wicketkeeper Shai Hope (21), Shamarh Brooks (18) and Pooran (11) each made solid starts, but rash shots soon saw them dispatched to the pavilion.
There was a brief purple patch from Hosein and no.9 Romario Shepherd (16) for an eighth-wicket stand of 49, However, any chance of a comeback was halted, with the pair both falling within a dozen runs to dash the hopes of the Windies.
Pakistan, who won the 1st ODI match by five wickets and stormed away with the 2nd ODI by a whopping 120 runs, made hard work of this latest victory. However, they had already drummed up a 10th successive ODI series success over the West Indies.
This trio of victories earned 30 points in the all-important ODI Super League, a qualification round for next year’s World Cup in India, to leapfrog over the Windies to fourth spot in the 13-team ODI League table with 90 points. The tourists lie in fifth place on 80 points.
This ODI series, which was rescheduled from December due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was a miserable reminder for the Windies that they tend to fail against spinners.
It is now back to the drawing board for the CWI selectors, who opted for a plethora of fresh faces for these tours to the Netherlands and Pakistan. Their attempt to rebuild the squad ahead of next year’s World Cup remains ongoing.
There will be questions asked about Pooran, who has played 43 ODIs since his debut almost four years ago, being the man to lead the Windies into the World Cup. His form has suffered because he is moulding such an inexperienced squad, but when the big guns – such as ex-captain Jason Holder – return to the fold then Pooran must deliver the goods or face the consequences.
Pollard was given the axe after struggling at the helm with a winless start to the year, following an embarrassing ODI series defeat to Ireland in the Caribbean and then losing the next series in India.
The CWI are certainly not afraid of making changes. This year’s thrilling ODI series triumph over England at least gave West Indian cricket a shot of confidence, which they appeared to be lacking in Pakistan.
WI beat Netherlands by 7 wickets (DLS Method)
Netherlands 240-7 (45 overs), WI 249-3 (43.1 overs)
WI beat Netherlands by 5 wickets
Netherlands 214 all out (48.3 overs), WI 217-5 (45.3 overs)
WI beat Netherlands by 20 runs
WI 308-5 (50 overs), Netherlands 288 all out (49.5 overs)
Pakistan beat WI by 5 wickets
WI 305-8 (50 overs), Pakistan 306-5 (49.2 overs)
Pakistan beat WI by 120 runs
Pakistan 275-8 (50 overs), WI 155 all out (32.2 overs)
Pakistan beat WI by 53 runs (DLS Method)
Pakistan 269-9 (48 overs), WI 216 all out (37.2 overs)
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