KARACHI: Pakistan beat West Indies by eight wickets with 19 balls to spare as they chased down 154 to complete a 3-0 clean sweep in the T20I series.
Babar Azam (51 off 40) scored another half-century to add to his 97* from Monday’s second T20I, with Fakhar Azam’s 40 run blitz up top crucial in setting up the win, which was sealed by debutants Husain Talat and Asif Ali.
Earlier, West Indies finally got a chance to bat first on a deck conducive to T20 batting and the visitors put up their most promising batting display of the tour to post their highest total of the series.
Most of the 153 runs were scored in two separate stints. First was the 72-run partnership for the second wicket between Andre Fletcher (52 off 43) and Marlon Samuels (31 off 25) after Chadwick Walton had been dismissed for a nine-ball duck in the third over. The duo took the Windies to 74 in the 12th over, before Samuels was dismissed.
Shadab Khan bowled the delivery of the match to knock Samuels’ stumps, then had Andre McCarthy caught by Fakhar Zaman, with Mohammed Nawaz running out Fletcher to leave the Windies at 95-4 at 14.4 overs. Rovman Powell was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf lbw for just 2, with West Indies now at 96-5 after 15.1 overs, and staring at another low score.
Dinesh Ramdin then took it upon himself to play Windies’ innings of the series scoring 42 off 18 balls with three sixes and four boundaries. Two of the sixes came off the last two deliveries of the innings against Usman Shinwari as Ramdin pushed the score to over 150.
It was another decent show with the ball by Pakistan, especially until the last few overs, with Shadab taking two wickets, and Shinwari, Mohammed Nawaz and Faheem Ashraf taking one each. Ashraf and Shinwari conceded 33 and 34 off their four overs respectively, while the others conceded around six runs per over. These included Shaheen Shah Afridi, the latest debutant for Pakistan in T20Is.
In reply, Fakhar Zaman took it to the West Indies again, scoring 40 off 17 with six boundaries and two sixes, before he was dismissed by Rayad Emrit with Pakistan cruising at 61-1 after 5.2 overs. It set the platform for Babar Azam and Husain Talat to extend their rich form as they took the score beyond 100 in the 12th over.
Neither Talat nor Azam had to go beyond second gear during their partnership. Babar Azam brought up his half-century off 39 balls with a cover drive off Odean Smith but was dismissed the very next delivery caught by Walton at a deep square leg, with the score at 113-2 after 12.5 overs.
Asif Ali followed Azam in the middle, looking to add to the glimpse of what he showed in the second T20I. The debutants took Pakistan home with 19 balls to score, as Husain Talat finished with 31* off 28 and Asif Ali scored 25* off 16, to complete their transition to the national side, and the clean sweep of the West Indies.
The series win means that Pakistan retains their number one T20 ranking. The team’s next international assignment would be the tour of Ireland and England, where they play a combined three Test matches.
The series was the first hosted in Karachi since 2009, signalling the return of international cricket to the city following the successful hosting of the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) last week.