Skipper Babar Azam led Pakistan to a victory in the first ODI against the West Indies, scoring a classy century to take his side home. The hosts faced a tough challenge from the Windies, who fought till the very end.
Shai Hope brought up his 12th ODI century as Windies racked up 305 on the board at Multan. The wicket-keeper also got to 4000 runs in One-Day Internationals in the process, at an average in excess of 50. However, Hope’s century went in vain as Pakistan were able to chase the total down, thanks to Azam’s century and a blitzkrieg from Khushdil Shah.
Fifties from Imam ul-Haq and Mohammed Rizwan were also crucial contributions in the Pakistan chase, while the West Indies toiled hard with the ball without much to show for it.
Newly appointed WI captain Nicholas Pooran won the toss and decided to bat first. Shaheen Afridi struck early to remove Kyle Mayers before Shamarh Brooks and Hope put together a solid partnership of 154 runs.
Brooks was dismissed for an impressive 70, while Hope carried on to get to three figures, his 12th in ODIs. The latter’s century placed WI in an ideal position for a huge total.
However, they would have been disappointed with the way their middle-order played, eventually reaching only 305 thanks to cameos from Rovman Powell and Romario Shepherd, about 30 runs short of what was expected.
Pakistan were impeccable in response, despite losing Fakhar Zaman early. Azam and ul-Haq got the scoreboard moving along quickly. The two added 103 for the second wicket, and Akeal Hossain forced a poor shot from Imam, who was dismissed for 65.
Rizwan then joined hands with his skipper in the middle, with the chase set up perfectly. He played according to plan, rotating strike to Babar and dispatching the bad balls to the boundary. Azam, however, was dismissed shortly after his century, following which Rizwan also lost his wicket.
This caused some panic in the Pakistan camp, but Shah was up to the task, as he played a brilliant innings of 41* in 24 balls to take his side to a comfortable victory.
Pakistan 306 for 5 (Babar 103, Imam 65, Joseph 2-55) beat West Indies 305 for 8 (Hope 127, Brooks 70, Rauf 4-77) by five wickets