The West Indies, aiming to be the first team to win the cricket World Cup in front of its own fans, beat Pakistan by 54 runs in today’s opening match of the competition in Jamaica.
Man-of-the-match Dwayne Smith scored 32 from 15 balls in the host’s 241-9 at Kingston’s Sabina Park, and took three wickets as Pakistan slumped to 187 all out. He snared both batsmen in Pakistan’s biggest partnership — captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammed Yousuf. Dwayne Bravo also got three wickets.
“All of us knew it was a must-win game in the first game up and it was very nice to come up with a win,” Smith told Sky Sports.
The West Indies, put in to bat, lost its first wicket in the third over as Chris Gayle, who has the team’s third-highest score in one-day matches, edged Umar Gul to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
Ramnaresh Sarwan, dropped by Younis Khan before he’d scored, was eventually dismissed for 49 when Younis held a catch at first slip for the third wicket.
Marlon Samuels, the top scorer with 63, and Brian Lara helped the West Indies rally from 77-3 before the captain got a thin edge off Mohammad Hafeez to provide Akmal with the third catch of the innings. Lara, dismissed as he began to accelerate the scoring, got 37. The wicketkeeper also stumped Denesh Ramdin, who made only one run on his 22nd birthday.
Hafeez ended Samuels’s onslaught, which included three sixes, when the batsmen looped the ball to Shoaib Malik, while Gul got a second wicket to end Smith’s innings. Iftikhar Anjum, playing his first one-day international since April 2006, forced Bravo into a mistake in the final over with a slower ball, but allowed six runs off the last ball when Corey Collymore swiped over long-on.
Pakistan’s weak start
The West Indies used an all-seam attack to stifle Pakistan and got the opening wicket in the first over. Imran Nazir, who’d struck the second delivery over cover for six, edged Daren Powell’s next ball to wicketkeeper Ramdin.
Younis gave Ramdin a second catch, while Powell secured his second wicket when Hafeez hit to Lara at mid-on as Pakistan slumped to 39-3. Inzamam and Yousuf, who at one point mustered just 19 runs together from 10 overs, put on 66 for the fourth wicket before both fell to Smith.
Bravo helped end Pakistan’s resistance with three late wickets, including a low catch off his own bowling to dismiss Gul. Iftikhar was caught by Lara the previous delivery.
Malik tried to salvage the game, clubbing 62 from 53 balls until he skied the ball off Corey Collymore and was the last man out.
“I was satisfied after the start we had,” Lara told the post-match presentation. “The guys played really well in the last 10 overs. That gave us impetus leading into the second half of the game.”