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Babar, Rizwan, Hafeez star as Pakistan beat West Indies to go 1-0 up in the T20 series

By our correspondent

GUYANA: Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan as usual did well with the bat and Mohammad Hafeez (1-6 in 4 overs) kept tight economy rate as Pakistan defeated West Indies by seven runs in their second T20 game here to take 1-0 lead in their four-match series after the first game had been abandoned without any result on July 28 at Barbados.

Babar (51) and Rizwan (46) once again remained the main contributors for Pakistan as the visitors posted 157-8 at the Providence Stadium in the game which was also hit by a slight rain in the first innings which had forced the umpires to stop the play for a short time.

In response West Indies were restricted to 150-4. In the final over from Shaheen Afridi (1-44) West Indies needed 20. However the left-armer not only removed the West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard (13) but also checked the other batsmen as he conceded 12 runs to seal a fine win for the visitors.

Hafeez remained star bowler for the hosts as he picked one wicket while conceding just six runs from four overs.

After being asked to bat first Sharjeel Khan (20) and Rizwan provided a brisk 46 runs start off 28 balls to set up a solid foundation.

Sharjeel, who was the first to go, smacked two fours and one six from 16 balls. Babar Azam then joined Rizwan and both as usual shared 67 valuable runs for the second wicket stand to boost Pakistan’s total. Rizwan got run out after the stumper had hit two sixes and two fours in 36-ball knock.

Babar also soon afterwards was sent back after smacking two sixes and four fours in his 40 ball fifty. West Indies then bowled tightly in the end to prevent Pakistan from posting a huge total.

Fast bowler Jason Holder was the star performer for the hosts as he captured 4-26 in his four overs quota. Dwayne Bravo snared 2-24 in four overs.

In reply, West Indies kept themselves in the hunt until the end thanks to Nicholas Pooran’s superb 33-ball 62 not out before Shaheen Afridi did well in the final over to snatch the win for the visitors. Pooran, who hit six sixes and four fours in his brilliant knock, added 66 runs for the fourth wicket with Pollard who was undone by Shaheen in the final over of the innings.

West Indies faced a real blow when well-settled Evin Lewis (35*) got retired hurt after he had hit two sixes and two fours in his 33-ball innings. Hasan Ali (1-32) and Mohammad Wasim Junior (1-32) were the others who were among the wickets. Shadab Khan (0-22 in 4) bowled very tightly that also helped Pakistan build pressure on the West Indies. Hafeez was declared as man of the match for his excellent bowling. The next game will be held at the same venue tomorrow.

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