SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — Captain Jason Holder has welcomed the improvement shown by his batsmen, but said West Indies were still searching for the “complete game” after going down by 59 runs in the second One-Day International here Sunday.
Chasing 338 for victory at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, West Indies managed to get up to 278 for seven off their 50 overs — the best performance by their batsmen in the entire limited-overs series.
However, Holder said the Windies bowlers had lacked discipline and this had allowed Pakistan to post a challenging target – the third-highest ever at the venue.
“We obviously didn’t get it together in these two games. I felt in the first game we obviously let ourselves down with the bat. I think in this game, the batsmen showed a lot more promise, a lot more fight, but we weren’t able to get over the line,” Holder told a media conference.
“If I go back to when we bowled, we leaked too many boundaries at crucial stages of the innings. I thought Shoaib Malik played an outstanding innings and he changed the impetus in terms of the middle overs.
“He put us under some pressure in the middle overs, which we probably didn’t react to as well as we would’ve liked.”
Veteran Shoaib blasted a cameo 90 off 84 deliveries with three fours and four sixes, an innings that left the Windies virtually shell-shocked.
The right-hander helped put on a record 169 for the third wicket with Babar Azam who stroked 123 — his second-successive hundred— as Pakistan rallied from 40 for two in the fifth over.
In reply, West Indies got half-centuries from Darren Bravo (61) and Marlon Samuels (57), but buckled under pressure as the required run rate climbed above 10 after 30 overs.
“Chasing 330-odd you really need to stay up with the run rate. We fell behind, but I thought we were still in the game with 20 overs left,” Holder explained.
“We had bargained for 160-odd to chase in 20 overs or probably 180-odd in the last 20, but at the end of the day we were just a little bit too far behind and it was a lot to do for the lower half, and I thought the Pakistani bowlers bowled well and made it difficult for us to hit.”
He added: “I think we can tighten up a bit more on the boundaries that we leaked [when we bowled] and I think once we do that, we can make things a lot more competitive. You’ve all seen the scores in One-Day cricket of late, especially with the fielding restrictions and such.
“It is a situation where these high totals are gettable, and you just need the conditions to be in your favour and at the end of the day you need a good foundation.”
The defeat was the fifth straight on tour for the hapless West Indies following on from their 3-0 whitewash in the preceding Twenty20 series.
And with the final ODI set for Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Holder said there will still be “positives” to draw from.
“There are still quite a few positives we can look at. Alzarri Joseph making his debut today, I thought he was pretty outstanding,” the all-rounder said.
“Kraigg Brathwaite coming into his second game showed a lot more prowess, a lot more fight; Darren Bravo getting a score as well and Marlon Samuels continuing his good form.
“So there are still a few positives to look [at]; I think we just need to bring together that one complete game.”