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Windies hold out for dramatic win

West Indies edged a low-scoring Champions Trophy thriller by two wickets against Pakistan at The Oval.

Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq batted magnificently only to be left high and dry, four runs short of a maiden one-day international century, as his side folded to 170 all out in 48 overs.

Aside from Misbah and opener Nasir Jamshed, who made exactly 50, no other Pakistan batsman reached double figures as Kemar Roach and Sunil Narine collected three wickets apiece.

West Indies omitted former captain Darren Sammy to accommodate a long batting order and, when impressive spells from pacemen Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz and mercurial spinner Saeed Ajmal left them 143 for seven, they were glad of the extra insurance.

At eight down, Roach returned to the fray and carved Junaid Khan over backward point to settle the contest off the fourth ball of the 41st over, allowing the West Indies dressing room to breathe a sigh of relief.

Earlier, Roach produced a magnificent opening burst to reduce Pakistan’s top order to rubble.

Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq all fell victim to a stunning display of controlled pace and accuracy; after four overs and two maidens, Roach boasted figures of 3-7 with Pakistan 15 for three.

The situation almost became worse during Roach’s next set of six as Misbah, pictured, survived a strong lbw appeal on review before replays confirmed Denesh Ramdin failed to take an inside edge cleanly. The wicketkeeper was later charged with a breach of the ICC Code of Conduct, having wrongly claimed the catch.

From that point Misbah and Jamshed consolidated, embarking upon a partnership of steady if unspectacular accumulation that ended needlessly just as Pakistan were beginning to threaten their opponents’ hold on the game.

Having reached his half-century from 91 balls, Jamshed miscued a lofted drive off Narine with mid-on in the circle. Ravi Rampaul gratefully pouched at long-on.

Narine made the most of this breakthrough, dismissing Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal – the former for a golden duck – as 105 for three became 110 for six.

A beautifully timed cut off the returning Roach brought Misbah his fifty but a pair of run-outs for Wahab and Ajmal further undermined the captain’s efforts.

He shepherded the tail to good effect and, after Chris Gayle magnificently caught Junaid Khan at slip off skipper Dwayne Bravo’s slower ball, a pair of towering sixes took Misbah into the nineties before a lifting Rampaul delivery did for final ally Irfan.

Apparently taking cues from his own dismissal, a menacing opening spell from Irfan accounted for Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo to leave West Indies 15 for two in the fifth.

Gayle and Marlon Samuels soon had their side on track with a brisk partnership worth 63 but neither could kick on.

Wahab then gained just reward for a fiery back-of-a-length stint when Ramnaresh Sarwan gloved behind.

The scoring rate slowed and Samuels was stumped for 30 off Hafeez when trying to break the shackles. Ajmal then tossed up a delivery outside off stump for which Gayle cleared his front leg but swung through fresh air to be bowled for 39.

A meaty four through the off side moved an impressively watchful Kieron Pollard to 30 and served notice that the big-hitting all-rounder was ready to free his arms during the batting powerplay, but Wahab located the outside edge to give Kamran a third catch of the innings.

Ajmal’s doosra dismissed Dwayne Bravo lbw on the sweep, pictured, and suddenly Pakistan scented an unlikely triumph.

Narine subsequently joined Ramdin and the pair counter-attacked effectively in a stand of 22.

Misbah turned to Irfan as his final throw of the dice after Ajmal and Wahab completed their excellent spells of 2-38 and 2-42 respectively. Six runs were needed when Narine edged him behind to end a breezy 11 but it proved to be the final, engrossing twist.


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