Pakistan hammer youthful West Indies in opening ODI

Monday, 25 April 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

GROS ISLET, St. Lucia, (Reuters) - Misbah-ul-Haq struck an unbeaten 73 to lead Pakistan to a crushing eight-wicket victory over a new-look West Indies side in the opening one-day international on Saturday.

In pursuit of a mediocre target of 222 at Beausejour Stadium, Pakistan cruised home with 51 balls to spare as Misbah and Asad Shafiq (61) shared in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 134. Misbah struck five fours and one six in 90 balls while Asad hit seven boundaries to help Pakistan take early honours in the five-match series.

Openers Mohammad Hafeez, with a brisk 54, and Ahmed Shehzad (22) put on 68 for the first wicket to give the visitors a flying start en route to a total of 222 for two in 41.3 overs.

The West Indies attack was put to the sword and only all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, with figures of 0-36 from eight overs, escaped heavy punishment. Batting first after winning the toss, the home team were restricted to 221 for six in their allotted 50 overs as Pakistan’s three spinners applied the shackles. Saeed Ajmal took 1-24 in his 10 overs, fellow off-spinner Hafeez returned figures of 1-36 and wrist-spinner Shahid Afridi weighed in with 0-40 to keep the hosts under pressure.

Left-hander Darren Bravo top-scored with 67 and West Indies captain Darren Sammy provided much-needed late sizzle with a whirlwind 29 not out off 17 balls featuring three fours and two sixes.

Sammy combined with Carlton Baugh, 10 not out, in an unbroken partnership of 44 for the seventh wicket but the 221 total was never going to be enough to contain an experienced Pakistan lineup. West Indies, who beat Pakistan by seven runs in their Twenty20 international on Thursday, have picked a youthful team for the ODI series after dropping seasoned batsmen Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The second ODI will be played at the same venue on Monday.