West Indies batsmen nullified Umair Masood’s innings-building century (113 off 114), one of the best knocks of the Under-19 World Cup 2016, and resisted a late collapse to record a five-wicket victory over Pakistan at the Fatullah Osmani stadium in Fatullah on Monday (February 8), to advance to the semifinal where they meet hosts Bangladesh in the national capital on February 11.
Chasing 228 under pressure, Gidron Pope, the West Indian opener, arrived straight from the Chris Gayle school of batting, looking to thulp every delivery bowled at him. The stocky left-hander played and missed a couple but once he found his timing, a brutal onslaught ensued. Pope fell in the seventh over for just 25 but he had put the pressure back on Pakistan early and set the tone for his side to build on in chase. Shimron Hetmyer (54 off 42) and Tevin Imlach (54 off 76), carried the baton of big hitting forward. In a contrasting start, West Indies raced away to 64 for 1 in 10 overs, pushing Pakistan to play the ‘catch-up game’.
Hetmyer did not let the scoring rate dip as the batsmen kept chancing their arms at every opportunity to quickly narrrow down the deficit. Imlach and Hetmyer put on a run-a-ball stand of 72 runs to take the game away from Pakistan. With just over 100 to get, Hetmyer, Keacy Carty and Imlach fell within the span of just seven overs giving Pakistan hopes of a late comeback. Shadab Khan’s effort with the ball, however, came a little too late as West Indies chased down their target with 10 overs to spare.
Masood made hay when the sun shone (quite literally) after West Indies failed to hold on to the early pressure they created in misty conditions under lights. After 42.2 over of relentless spin bowling from Sri Lanka on Sunday, West Indies offered a neutralising effect as Alzarri Joseph, West Indies’ most menacing pacer in the tournament and Chemar Holder, a debutant fast bowler from Barbados, made optimum use of the green tinge on the wicket and pushed the Pakistan batsmen on the back foot early on.
The pace duo made Zeeshan Malik rue his decision to bat first, with Joseph cranking up the pace and delivering one that clocked 145 kmph in the 4th over and Holder nicely setting up Pakistan’s stand-in skipper to pull the plug on his struggles.
Holder offered two full length deliveries and then dug one short that caught Malik by surprise. He was late on his attempted hook shot and top-edged it to the wicketkeeper in the fourth over.
Pakistan’s experiment of sending Shadab Khan ahead of Saif Badar, as a pinch hitter at No. 3, failed as he was squared up and beaten for pace, edging Holder to first slip in the sixth over.
After keeping the pressure up from one end, Joseph also bagged a wicket, trapping Mohammad Umar leg before with a sharp inswinging yorker. Unfortunately for Umar, however, replays showed that the ball would’ve missed the leg stump by quite a distance. Pakistan managed just one boundary in the first Powerplay of 10 overs as they crawled to 24 for 3.
Hasan Mohsin was left to pull his side out of trouble once again as he and Badar tried to forge a partnership. As the sun soon came out in all its glories, the batsmen hoped to settle down and build a much-needed foundation for the team. Shamar Springer, however, thwarted such plans when he sent Badar packing with a length delivery that the batsman nicked to the keeper.
Mohsin, meanwhile, was building on a start and looking to settle in, but a change in the bowling ruined his rhythm. Keemo Paul, another medium pacer, struck in his first over to send Mohsin packing and Pakistan sliding, to 52 for 5 in the 21st over.
Masood and Fayyaz came together and showed a lot of patience at the start as West Indies’ grip was starting to loosen. Masood took 34 balls to score his first boundary and rode his luck – earning a reprieve after West Indies couldn’t take advantage of Masood getting floored mid-way through the pitch after a bit of miscommunication between the two batsmen. With his team’s stranglehold loosening rather swiftly, Shimron Hetmyer brought back Joseph for his second spell in the 28th over. The 19-year-old pacer continued to generate good pace but Masood and Fayyaz wisely opted to play him out without taking risks.
Holder too returned by 32nd over but couldn’t breach the Masood-Fayyaz bonding as Pakistan’s total went past the three-figure mark. West Indies tried to unsettle the pair with the off-spin of Gidron Pope but the lack of turn on the wicket and flight in his bowling made life simpler for the batsmen. Masood survived another opportunity in Pope’s second over.
The right-hander danced down the track and attempted a big heave, but the ball beat him and the keeper to run down to the fine leg fence for four byes. Masood welcomed Jyd Goolie, another off spinner, with three fours in two overs as Pakistan’s scoring rate started to pick up. In the 39th over, Masood brought up his half-century.
Fayyaz, too moved into the forties as Pakistan reached 144 for 4 in 40 overs. In a bid to sprint to a good finish, Masood and Fayyaz shifted gears in tandem. Masood took a particular liking for Springer’s medium pace, hitting him for 25 runs in two overs.
Masood’s exceptional knock of 113 off 114 deliveries came to an end in the final over but his 164-run stand with Fayyaz took Pakistan to 227 for 6, which proved to be insufficient as West Indies batsmen took advantage of an eased out wicket to blaze their way into the semifinal.
Brief scores: Pakistan 227 for 6 in 50 overs (Umair Masood 113, Salman Fayyaz 58*; Chemar K Holder 2-26, Alzarri Joseph 1-28) lose to West Indies 229-5 in 40 overs (Tevin Imlach 54, Shimron Hetmyer 52; Ahmed Shafiq 1-35) by five wickets
( © Cricbuzz)