KARACHI, Pakistan – West Indies suffered a humbling whitewash on the two-year anniversary of their Twenty20 World Cup triumph, when they slipped to an eight-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the final T20 International of the three-match series here Tuesday.
Hoping to end an otherwise dismal series on a high, the Windies enjoyed no such luxury, gathering only 153 for six off their 20 overs on a batsman’s pitch at the National Stadium and watching helplessly as the hosts chased it down with 19 balls to spare.
The series defeat saw the reigning World champions slip from fifth to seventh in the ICC world rankings.
There was slight improvement over the first two matches which the tourists lost by comprehensive margins as Andre Fletcher stroked their first half-century with 52 while veteran Denesh Ramdin slammed a quick-fire unbeaten 42 and Marlon Samuels, 31.
But the result was never in doubt once Man-of-the-Series Babar Azam struck 51 in a 61-run opening stand off 32 deliveries with Man-of-the-Match Fakhar Zaman, who carved out 40.
When both departed, Hussain Talat (31 not out) and Asif Ali (25 not out), both of whom made their international debuts in the series, saw their side home to post an emphatic result in the first tour on Pakistani soil in nine years.
West Indies, who arrived late Saturday night, were crushed by 143-runs in Sunday’s opener and suffered an 82-run drubbing in the second match on Monday.
Playing on the same date on which they stunned England in the final of the 2016 World Cup in Kolkata, victory would have been the ideal way to commemorate the achievement.
And hopes of a consolation win seemed on the cards when Fletcher struck his sixth T20I half-century in a promising 72-run, second wicket stand with Samuels.
Opener Chadwick Walton had perished in the third over without scoring with two runs on the board, attempting to go over the top with left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz but succeeding only in picking out Babar at cover.
Fletcher energised the innings in a 43-ball knock which included four fours and three sixes while Samuels hit a pair of fours and sixes – the latter two straight hits in the seventh over off Nawaz – in 25 balls at the crease.
The partnership though was hardly whirlwind, requiring 56 deliveries and the Windies were only 64 for one at the half-way stage of the innings.
Samuels missed a Shadab Khan (2-27) googly in the 12th over and was bowled middle stump and the Windies were further set back when debutant Andre McCarthy skied Shadab to long off to depart for five in the 14th over.
Fletcher was run out in the 15th over at the non-striker’s end, failing to beat Nawaz’s direct throw from mid-off in a scamper for a quick single and when Rovman Powell (2) was plumb lbw to seamer Fahim Ashraf, the Windies had lost three wickets for six runs in the space of nine deliveries.
Ramdin then arrived to spare the Caribbean side embarrassment, lashing four fours and three sixes in a hasty 18-ball cameo, while adding 44 for the sixth wicket with captain Jason Mohammed (13).
The right-handed Ramdin took a couple of boundaries of left-armer Usman Khan in the 18th which leaked 14 runs before belting Fahim for a four and a six in the penultimate over which went for 17 runs.
West Indies scraped only a single run from the first four balls of the final over and lost Mohammed to a catch at the wicket but Ramdin ended the innings with two sixes off Usman to get the visitors past 150.
Babar and Fakhar then quelled any momentum the Windies had in an opening partnership which put Pakistan in command.
Following on from his unbeaten 97 in the second match, Babar counted six fours off 40 balls while Fakhar also cashed in on wayward Windies bowling to strike six fours and two sixes in a 17-ball appearance.
Fakhar paid for his enterprise when he charged seamer Rayad Emit and got a thin edge through to wicketeeper Ramdin in the sixth over.
But Talat, with three fours in 28 balls, put on 52 for the second wicket with Babar and added a further 41 for the third with Asif, to hand Pakistan victory. – CMC