West Indies make heavy weather of light chase in Champions Trophy

Kemar Roach and Sunil Narine limit Pakistan to 170 despite captain Misbah's heroics but batsmen sweat it to a two-wicket win.

Kemar Roach's three-wicket burst put Pakistan on the backfoot. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images
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Toss West Indies, chose to field
Pakistan Misbah 96, Jamshed 50; Roach 3-28, Narine 3-34
West Indies Gayle 39, Samuels 30, Pollard 30; Irfan 3-32, Ajmal 2-38, Riaz 2-42
Man of the match Kemar Roach (West Indies)

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, was left to rue the lack of application by his teammates after he ended up as the top-scorer in a losing cause against West Indies at The Oval yesterday.

The 2004 champions, at the same ground, edged past Pakistan’s total of 170 to register a narrow two-wicket victory in a nail-biting low-scoring Group B opener. Kemar Roach and Sunil Narine took three wickets apiece despite a career-high 96 not out from Misbah.

Pakistan bowlers did make a match out of it as the men from the Caribbean grinded out a narrow win after being 143 for seven themselves. “The plan was just to see off the new ball but we lost too many wickets. We were aiming for 240-250,” Misbah said post-match.

“When mistakes are made, the whole team has to suffer. It does not matter that did not get to the century. I am happy that we bowled with a lot of heart.”

Misbah was stranded four runs short of his maiden one-day international century as Pakistan paid for gratuitous shots.

His 96 and opener Nasir Jamshed’s 50 were the only scores in double figures as Pakistan lost wickets in bunches and failed to bat out the 50 overs.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first in gloomy but warm conditions on a dry, sluggish pitch with only three specialist bowlers – two quicks and Narine – as they preferred to strengthen the batting by playing Kieron Pollard ahead of former captain Darren Sammy.

It was a good toss to win as the bowlers made the batsmen’s job much easier. “We wanted the bowlers good use of a fresh pitch. We knew their bowling was strong,” captain Dwayne Bravo said.

Fast bowler Roach knocked off the top order in taking three wickets for five runs in 14 balls, and the spinner Narine stymied the revival with 3-3 in the space of 10 balls.

“Roach set the tone by taking wickets. He was backed up well by Narine and Rampaul,” Bravo said, hailing his bowlers. “This game was important for us and it is good that we get the nerves out of the way.”

From 105 for three, Pakistan lost the last seven wickets for 65 runs in 18.5 overs. Misbah was lucky, before he had got off the mark, not to be dismissed off successive balls. That would have left Pakistan in an even bigger hole at 17 for four in the ninth over.

“In England, the ball moves around a bit,” Roach said later. “Our aim was to get early breakthoughs. I bowled in the right channels and I am proud of the fact that I achieved it for the team.”

Under the circumstances at 17-3, Nasir and Misbah were cautious. Misbah took 34 balls to hit his first boundary.

Nasir was first to his 50, off 91 balls, his seventh half-century. But two balls later he mis-hit Narine and lobbed an easy catch to long off. He and Misbah combined for 90 from 139 balls.

In the same over, Shoaib Malik was out for a duck to another poor shot. He was replaced by Kamran Akmal, who tried to cut Narine and merely bottom-edged a catch behind on 2.

As the second bout of collapse began, Misbah looked set to miss out again on his first ODI ton in his 118th match. Last man Mohammad Irfan hung on for a 32-run partnership in 46 balls. Misbah surpassed his previous best of 93 not out before Irfan was undone by a slower ball from Ravi Rampaul, leaving Misbah stranded.

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