About the Match
Pakistan has squared the ODI series 1-1 and ensured that the third game to be played at Guyana will be a decider. Can the West Indians pick themselves up and put in another winning performance in the decider or will the first ODI victory be chalked up to chance?
1991. This was the last time when the West Indies managed to win an ODI bilateral series against Pakistan. It is an indication of how quick and how far the West Indies cricket standard has dropped that before that period the West Indies were the most feared ODI unit in the world.
They have another opportunity to rectify that record though in the third match of this ODI series.
Chasing another steep total of 283, the West Indies started off with a lot more intent than in the first ODI. A result of that approach was that they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and when Jason Mohammad got out to leave the score 56 for 5, the game was effectively over.
The fact that they had such a large total was also down to their inability to execute bowling plans at the end of the innings. They had Pakistan at 183 for 5 in the 39th
over before letting them reach 282 for 5 in 50 overs.
Babar Azam scored a career-best 125*, his 5th
ODI hundred in 25 innings and currently has an average of 56.78. There is no doubt that he will be one of the future superstars in the Pakistan ODI side and could play a major role in the decider as well.
Mohammad Hafeez has also played well in his comeback series but could increase the tempo of his game. Hafeez is known to take full toll of opponents when in form and we would back him to make a significant score in the third match of this series.
Imad Wasim is, in our opinion, the most underrated cricketer in this side. He bowls economically, picks wickets and chips in with crucial runs down the order. Pakistan may have a player in the mould of Ravindra Jadeja/Shakib Al Hasan in their side.
Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan make for a very potent spin bowling partnership, while the emergence of Hasan Ali makes this Pakistan bowling attack dangerous in any conditions. Imad Wasim in our pick to take the most wickets in the decider among the bowlers on display.
The West Indies would have been buoyed to see a near sell-out crowd for the second ODI. We are sure that resurgence in the West Indies cricket team fortunes will bring back the crowds and the lost flavor of West Indian cricket.
Playing a major part in this process would be players like Chadwick Walton, Shai Hope, Evan Lewis and Jason Mohammad. All of these players are talented but lack the experience in international cricket. We think they will only get better and actually believe that a big inning from Shai Hope is around the corner.
Chadwick Walton too has thrown away his wicket in an effort to be aggressive but could temper that just a little and reap some big rewards.
The pitch at Providence Stadium looked to be full of runs for the first two matches but may understandably be a little slower for the third 50 over match in a week. We believe that the scores will be slightly lower and 250 could be a very good total in the decider.
Expect the spinners from Pakistan and West Indies to play a starring role. We would back Bishoo to take the most wickets for the West Indies.
The pressure of playing a decider can do strange things to a team. Some may rise to the occasion while other may crumble under the pressure. Among the two teams on display, Pakistan looks to be far more confident and freer in thinking.
We would back Pakistan to win and take the series 2-1.