Pooran’s career-best in vain as Babar, Hafeez star

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Nicholas Pooran of West Indies hits a 6 during the 2nd T20I match between the West Indies and Pakistan at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana, on July 31, 2021 (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite Nicholas Pooran’s valiant unbeaten 62, the West Indies could not overhaul Pakistan’s target of 158 on a sluggish wicket and slid to a seven-run loss in the second T20I at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.

Fully vaccinated fans at Providence, which included President Dr Irfaan Ali and other government officials in the stands, enjoyed the class of Babar Azam, who stroked 51 and the power of Pooran.

President Dr Irfaan Ali at the National Stadium, Providence, earlier today cheering on the West Indies

In the chase, West Indies top order could not find the momentum in the Powerplay, scoring just 31 runs for the loss of two wickets.

For a while, Evin Lewis and local boy Shimron Hetmyer tried to resurrect the innings but could not shift gears.

Hetmyer, in an attempt to keep up with the required run rate, attempted to slog Mohammad Wasim Jnr but could only hear the death rattle. To make matters worse, Lewis had to retire hurt due to a cramp.

With 74 needed of only five overs, Pooran decided to up the ante. He clubbed Wasim for two sixes and a boundary in the 16th over and followed it up with a couple of boundaries off Shaheen Afridi. He also had his share of the rub of the green as he eked out an inside edge off Afridi that scurried away to the fence.

In the penultimate over, he showcased his pyrotechnics by clubbing Hasan Ali for a six down the ground.

The six also brought up his fifty in just 28 balls. The West Indies needed 20 in the final over, but Afridi dislodged Kieron Pollard to dent the home team further. Pooran did smash a six and a four off the last two balls of the game, but it was not enough to cross the finish line.

Babar Azam (R) of Pakistan hits a 4 during the 3rd T20I match between the West Indies and Pakistan at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana, on July 31, 2021 (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam had laid the platform for Pakistan’s total with a stand of 67 for the second wicket. On a slow wicket, Babar looked to play back to essay the occasional cut and pull of Hayden Walsh. The duo also pinched singles and twos to take Pakistan to a position of strength.

However, against the run of play, Rizwan was run out on the back of an excellent throw from Lewis.

With Pakistan at 134 for 2, rain played spoilsport for a while. And that proved to be the decisive moment of Pakistan’s innings as the visitors lost six wickets for only 23 runs after the break.

Jason Holder (L) of the West Indies celebrates the dismissal of Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan during the 3rd T20I match between the West Indies and Pakistan at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana, on July 31, 2021 (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jason Holder finished with excellent figures of 4 for 26 while Dwayne Bravo had 2-24.