Pakistan’s Imad Wasim plays it straight, and West Indies just can’t cope in another T20 defeat
West Indies 103/5 (20/20 ov)
Pakistan 108/2 (15.1/20 ov)
Pakistan won by 8 wickets (with 29 balls remaining)
ABU DHABI // The straight ball eh? Those times when the pitch is playing all kinds of tricks, and the ball is whizzing in, breaking here and there, by this much and that much; those times you throw in a straight ball and boy can it do wonders.
When the pitch is not doing much though, and when the bowler is not a real tweaker, a straight ball, well, it is just a straight ball. There is no rocket science to it. And at this level batsmen should not be letting straight balls go through them, or at least not as often as the West Indies have here.
As has been the case all through the series, Imad Wasim has been bowling mostly straight balls, or balls that do not turn and sometimes curve – or gently swing – in with the angle. Last night, at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital, he was at it again and was rewarded with three more wickets, to add to an already rich series haul.
Figures of three for 21 meant he ended with nine wickets in the series. Six of them were bowled or leg-before – testament to just how straight his bowling has been. None of his victims covered themselves in any kind of glory with their choice of strokes, not least Johnson Charles, whose mow across the line started the rot in the third over.
Not that Wasim cares how they come; his Twenty20 career is off to a sparkling start.
The eight-wicket win, with nearly five overs to spare, sealed a rare clean sweep over the format’s world champions and marked a happy return to Abu Dhabi for the “home” side.
This was Pakistan’s first T20 in the capital since a five-run loss to England in February 2012. For a weeknight, a near-full stadium perhaps suggests to organisers that it should happen more often.
Not that tourists of this quality and, more specifically, mood, will help in pulling the crowds in. This West Indies side are world champions but, on the basis of this showing, only in name.
This is a vastly different side to the one that so charmed and thrilled the world that mad April night in Kolkata.
Admittedly, in personnel, that was another side. This one is without Darren Sammy’s leadership, without the energy of Andre Russell, without the thrust of Lendl Simmons and the aura of Chris Gayle, and it is without the coach that evening, Phil Simmons.
But it seems to be missing more than just that. That much was evident in their batting, but just as much as their bowling and fielding. At no time was there any suggestion that they were in the mood to push Pakistan at all in their pursuit.
There was a different spirit to that Kolkata team, one that goes beyond just changes in personnel. That was a night to rejoice in the enduring spirit of West Indies cricket.
Over three games here, there has only been reason to revive worries about the game in the Caribbean and ask why, with some of the greatest format talent anywhere, they can suffer results such as this?
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Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM