Buoyant Pakistan look to ride winning momentum

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A change of formats has not brought a change in fortune for a faltering West Indies side. Having been blanked out in the T20I series, they lost the first ODI in Sharjah by 111 runs. While West Indies continued to struggle to get enough runs on the board in spin-friendly UAE conditions, Pakistan would be cheered that many of their younger players are at the forefront of the winning momentum they are starting to build.

Babar Azam is part of a young brigade that has driven Pakistan's recent success (Photo: Getty Images)
Babar Azam is part of a young brigade that has driven Pakistan’s recent success (Photo: Getty Images)

Among those young guns is 21-year-old top-order batsman Babar Azam, who stroked his maiden international century in the first ODI. Opener Sharjeel Khan and left-arm spinners Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz are other less experienced players who have shown signs that they may have bright careers ahead of them. For the time being, they are fueling Pakistan’s progress and West Indies’ demise in a tour that has so far been utterly one-sided.

For West Indies, one of the main stumbling blocks has been their failure to put up competitive totals on tracks that are not conducive to their free-spirited, big-hitting game. As captain Jason Holder acknowledged, they need to rotate the strike better and show the application to build an innings.

A win in the second ODI would seal the three-match series for Pakistan, but there is more riding on it than that. A 3-0 series victory for Pakistan would displace West Indies from the No. 8 position in the ODI rankings. As both teams eye direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup (for which they would need to be in the top eight on September 30, 2017) such encounters acquire added significance. (ESPNcricinfo) 

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