2009 Cricket Champions Trophy - Pakistan wobble but prevail against West Indies
Pakistan survived an early-innings scare to begin their Champions Trophy campaign with a wobbly five-wicket victory over West Indies at The Wanderers.
Three wickets each for Mohammad Aamer and Umar Gul looked to have set Pakistan up for a comfortable win after they bowled their opponents out for 133 in 34.3 overs – Nikita Miller (51) was the mainstay for the Windies with his maiden half-century. But Gavin Tonge (four for 25) posed a constant threat, reducing Pakistan to 76 for five at one stage before Umar Akmal (41 not out) and Shahid Afridi (17 not out) led their side to victory with almost 20 overs to spare.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the second-string Caribbean team – missing all their top players because of a contractual dispute with their board which has since been resolved – began poorly, losing Dale Richards (one) after just six balls when he pushed a return catch to Aamer (three for 24). His fellow opener Andre Fletcher was next to go, and after lifting Rana Naved over his head for a four, he succumbed to the same bowler four balls later, caught by Imran Nazir at backward point for seven. Aamer then had Travis Dowlin caught behind without scoring in the next over as the West Indians slumped to 14 for three.
The captain Floyd Reifer then joined Devon Smith as the pair tried to steady the ship, but after putting on 22, the latter edged Gul (three for 28) to Umar Akmal at second slip for 18. David Bernard (six) then saw his off-stump uprooted by Aamer, followed by the wicket of the skipper, who edged Gul to Misbah-ul-Haq at first slip for seven. Chadwick Walton was trapped lbw off the next delivery without scoring, but Miller confidently drove the hat-trick ball away through the covers for four. A 38-run partnership then followed before Darren Sammy (25) was bowled by Saeed Ajmal (two for 16).
The batting powerplay was then taken and Miller made the most of it, taking three fours off Ajmal's second over to help his side pass 100 in the 27th over. He lost partner Tino Best (eight), stumped by Kamran Akmal off Ajmal, but went on to raise his 50 from 51 balls. But he went for one shot too many and perished to Afridi to bring the innings to a close with more than 15 overs remaining.
In response, the World Twenty20 champions lost two early wickets – both to the lively Tonge, who bowled Nazir (five) with his first ball and then enticed Kamran Akmal (five) into a big waft that was edged behind to Walton. But Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf calmed nerves by taking Pakistan to the supper break at 35 for two.
After the resumption Tonge and his wicketkeeper twice combined to get rid of the pair – both for scores of 23 – while Bernard accounted for Misbah (six) in the same way as Pakistan slumped to 76 for five in the 23rd over. There was no twist in the tale, though, with Umar Akmal and Afridi guiding their side over the line with an unbeaten 58-run stand.
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