Pakistan 308 for 6 (Azam 117, Azhar 101, Joseph 2-62) beat West Indies 172 (Ramdin 37, Nawaz 3-40, Wahab 2-28) by 136 runs
Babar Azam became the third Pakistan player – and eighth overall – to score three consecutive ODI centuries as he top-scored with a 106-ball 117 in Pakistan’s commanding 136-run victory over West Indies in Abu Dhabi. The win completed Pakistan’s 3-0 sweep of the ODI series and enabled them to displace West Indies at No. 8 in the ODI rankings.
Azam put on a run-a-ball 147 for the second wicket with captain Azhar Ali, who scored a century of his own to become the only Pakistan player to score three hundreds as ODI captain. The top-order hundreds formed the backbone of Pakistan’s total of 308 for 6, a score that looked beyond West Indies almost from the start of their scratchy, plodding reply.
The margin of victory could have been even bigger had Pakistan’s middle- and lower-order batsmen fully capitalised on the strong launchpad provided by Azam and Azhar. Pakistan had moved to 232 for 2 by the time their partnership had been broken in the 39th over; they added just 76 runs thereafter, as successive batsmen struggled to find their timing on a slowing wicket and against an older ball. The last ten overs of Pakistan’s innings yielded only two boundaries, one of which was possible only thanks to a lazy misfield by Evin Lewis at deep backward square.
But if the end of Pakistan’s innings appeared anti-climactic, it was still lively compared to the dreary run-chase that followed. Showing an inability to rotate the strike, against pace and spin alike, West Indies’ batsmen got stuck and never approached the run rate required to mount a genuine challenge. By the end of the 30th over, West Indies had soaked up 112 dot balls – as many as Pakistan had faced in their entire innings – and were wallowing in the gloom of impending defeat with the score 119 for 5. Their limp effort continued thereafter as the match drifted towards its inevitable conclusion.
Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo