Pakistan crushed West Indies by 10 wickets Wednesday to become the first team to storm into the World Cup semifinals here on Wednesday.
The result was never in doubt once West Indies fell apart after choosing to bat first, with only three players reaching double figures in a paltry total of 112. Yet again, it’s Pakistn skipper, Shahid Afridi, who led from the front by capturing Shahid Afridi 4-30. Thus, he took his tournament tally to 21 wickets so far as Pakistan’s three spinners finished with 8-64 combined.
The advent of the knockout rounds at the World Cup was supposed to eliminate the mismatches that affected the group stage, but that didn’t prove to be the case in the first of the quarterfinals.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy had warned before the game that if his batsmen collapsed as they did against England and India in their two previous games that they would be “going home.” His words proved prophetic.
Only a stubborn partnership by Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan prevented a quicker demise. Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 44, but he needed 106 balls to get there.
West Indies total was its ninth lowest in One Day Internationals, and only just beat its lowest World Cup total earlier of 93.
In fact, the day appeared to have begunn well enough for West Indies when Sammy won the toss and chose to bat on a slow-paced pitch. He obviously didn’t account for the West Indies batsmen throwing away wickets in the manner they did. Chris Gayle returned to the top of the order having missed the game against India but after thumping two fours, he was gone by the end of the third over, mistiming a lofted drive off Gul that went straight to Afridi at mid-off.
Fellow opener Devon Smith never looked comfortable against either of Pakistan’s opening bowlers Umar Gul or Hafeez. It was Hafeez who had him trapped leg before in the sixth over. Darren Bravo followed Smith back to the dressing room in the same over to another lbw decision.
At 16-3, the lowest score at Mirpur looked under threat. That was the 58 Bangladesh managed in the group stage — against West Indies. However, the experienced heads of Sarwan and Chanderpaul began an exercise in occupying the crease.
Sarwan made a tortuous 24 off 68 balls but the hard work went to waste when he played a loose drive straight to Umar Akmal at point to give Afridi his 18th wicket of the tournament — and more quickly followed. Kieron Pollard and Devon Thomas fell in the space of two Afridi balls in the 27th over, and West Indies proved no more adept in dealing with the off-spin of Saeed Ajmal, who accounted for Sammy and Davendra Bishoo in the next over.
The outstanding Afridi finished off the innings in the 44th over by bowling Ravi Rampaul for 0.
Hafeez, opening the batting as well as the bowling, stroked two fours in the first over of Pakistan’s innings to set the tone for an embarrassingly easy chase.
On the contrary, Pakistan was ruthless in its run chase, racing to 25 in the first two overs. Hafeez added an effortless 61 to ensure his team’s resounding wicket less victory over Windies.