Imad Wasim scripts comprehensive Pakistan win

Dwayne Bravo’s 55 helps West Indies reach 115, but host cruises to nine-wicket win within 15 overs in first T20I

Imad Wasim became the first Pakistan spinner to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is as West Indies were bowled out for 115. West Indies might be the reigning world champion in Twenty20 cricket, but Imad Wasim brought it down to earth with figures of 5 for 14, setting up Pakistan’s nine-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International on Friday (September 23) in Dubai.

In the process, Imad became the first Pakistan spinner to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is as West Indies was bowled out for 115. It could have been worse had it not been for a battling 54-ball 55 from Dwayne Bravo, which helped the visitor recover from the depths of 48 for 8.

Pakistan was confidence personified in the chase. Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif put on an opening stand of 28 before the former was bowled by Samuel Badree for an 18-ball 22.

But there were no hiccups thereafter as Babar Azam (55 not out in 37 balls) and Khalid (34 not out in 32 balls) raced to get the team across the line in 14.2 overs. Babar, in particular, put up a sparkling display as he slammed six fours and two sixes on his way to a maiden T20I fifty.

Pakistan was on the money from the first over itself after opting to field, with Imad, who opened the bowling, luring Evin Lewis with a tossed-up delivery and having him caught at deep mid-wicket.

Imad next had Andre Fletcher (two), who swung and missed as the stumps were rattled. A ball later, Marlon Samuels was trapped in front for four.

Soon, 16 for 3 became 22 for 5. Johnson Charles joined the procession, failing to get bat on ball as Mohammad Nawaz knocked his leg stump back. It was a tall order for any batsman to walk into the middle with the side four down inside five overs, much less a 20 year old making his T20I debut, and Nicholas Pooran could only make five before he was caught behind off Hasan Ali.

The onus was on Kieron Pollard and Bravo, the senior pros, to somehow get West Indies out of the hole it was in. But, with Imad on song, it wasn’t going to happen. Imad got the ball to deviate off Pollard’s pads and on to the stumps after a 17-ball nine and then followed it up with a good slower ball to nab Carlos Brathwaite for a duck.

West Indies was then eight down when Sunil Narine was caught short of his crease by an excellent throw from Latif. Most would have given up hope at this stage, but Bravo was not lacking in self-belief.

He forged a 66-run partnership with Jerome Taylor for the ninth wicket playing enterprising cricket. When West Indies was finally bowled out in 19.5 overs, the eventual total did save it the blushes. It just wasn’t enough to save the game.

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