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Pakistan victorious in close fought tour opener

Updated July 12, 2013
Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers- Reuters Photo
Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers- Reuters Photo

Pakistan came out victorious in their first tour match against the Guyana side in the Caribbean, in a closely fought contest at Bourda.

Pakistan’s batting woes continued to worry them as late contributions pushed them to 246 before Mohammad Irfan and Saeed Ajmal halted the Guyanese chase seven runs short.

After being sent into bat by the hosts in overcast conditions, Pakistan eased to 12 for no loss in three overs before rain interrupted play briefly. After resumption of play, the opening pair of Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad put on 62 at a scoring rate of just under four an over before Jamshed was bowled by the left arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul.

The same bowler claimed Mohammad Hafeez’s scalp six overs later to leave Pakistan at 86-2. With captain Misbah-ul-Haq at the other end, Shehzad reached his half century in 58 balls before eventually getting stumped on 68 off the bowling of Devendra Bishoo.

The Pakistan skipper was first of three quick wickets to fall to spin, followed by the young pair of Umar Akmal, who is making a comeback in this series, and Asad Shafiq to leave Pakistan at 160-6.

However, Shahid Afridi, making yet another comeback to the national side, rescued Pakistan along with Wahab Riaz. Afridi hit 31 runs in his trademark aggressive fashion scoring sixes off Steven Jacobs and Keon Joseph but was soon caught while trying to clear the long-off boundary.

Umar Amin, however, provided some late momentum with a couple boundaries to carry his side to 246-9, scoring an unbeaten 17 in the process. The pick of the local bowlers was Permaul who finished the innings with overall figures of 10-3-27-3.

Guyana’s chase started poorly with the 7-foot tall pacer Mohammad Irfan claiming the wickets of both openers Trevon Griffith and Anthony Bramble within the first five overs. Windies veteran Ramnaresh Sarwan put on 54 runs for the third wicket partnership with Leon Johnson. Sarwan lost his wicket to left arm spinner Abdur Rehman, edging the delivery through to keeper Umar Akmal who is filling the spot vacated by elder brother Kamran.

Leon Johnson led the recovery by the hosts hitting Afridi for two fours in one over and then pulling Abdur Rehman for six over mid-wicket to take Guyana to 138. At this point, Pakistan spin wizard Saeed Ajmal put the brakes on the innings, dismissing Johnson and then Fudadin.

Left arm batsman Narsingh Deonarine put up resistance to the Pakistan bowling attack hitting five fours and two sixes before being bowled by Ajmal on 55, leaving the hosts with 77 to get from the final 10 overs. The Guyanese batting tail showed resilience, adding 41 for the 9th wicket but Ajmal claimed his 5th wicket, trapping Steven Jacobs in front of his wicket before rookie pacer Asad Ali dismissed Bishoo for his first wicket of the day, handing Pakistan a 7 run win.

Pakistan play the West Indies in the first of five ODI’s on Sunday in Providence (18:00 PST), followed by two T20 internationals.