The two most unpredictable teams faced off in one of the hardest to predict, and volatile, matches you could hope for. It was going to be excitement plus, no matter who won, and no matter the margin. So calling this a fizzer is a bit unfair. Just the same, when one team is all out for 105 and the other team gets the runs in less than 14 overs, you can hardly call it close. Even though West Indies lost 3 wickets in the chase, it was hardly close. They were just going for a net run rate boost, in case they end up battling for the 4th and final spot in the semi-finals, which, on this form, they may well be.
Five Things We Learned:
(1) West Indies can bowl!
Who would have thought that this team, more well-known for scoring big, and especially for their ability to chase down any target, could bowl a team out for just 105? But they did. Andre Russell, who started off as a bowler, took 2, Jason Holder, in spite of being smacked around early on, was good enough to take 3, and then Oshane Thomas came in at the end to take 4, enough to earn himself man of the match honours. I mean yeah.
(2) Pakistan might want to think twice before dropping a batsman
Asif Ali was surprisingly left out of the XI, as Pakistan went in with an extra bowler. I mean, Sarfraz Ahmed was batting at 5, two full spots higher than he should be. Why would you leave Asif Ali out? So you can squeeze in that 6th bowler? Fat lot of good that did, when they only used 3, and only bowled 13.4 overs. Perhaps a bit of rethinking is in order before their next match.
(3) Chris Gayle never fails to excite
He didn’t need to score quickly, or to score a whole lot, but he still got 50 off 34, the highest score of the match, including 6x 4s and 3x 6s. Nicholas Pooran wasn’t too far behind, but that was when it came time to finish off the match, not when Pakistan still had a hint of a hope that they might still win.
(4) Mohammad Amir justified his inclusion
3 wickets for 26 might not sound like much, but when you consider they were the only 3 wickets to fall, he sure justified his inclusion. Many people have forgotten just how good he was before his ban for spot fixing. To think that he wasn’t in the initial squad. If Pakistan thought that such a trick would work on the West Indies, or any opponents for that matter, they were sadly mistaken.
(5) West Indies might just be the real deal
I had them at 3rd on the list after the warm-ups but after England’s big win they slipped to 4th, and this result doesn’t change that ranking, but it does reaffirm it. They are unbeaten in this tournament, save the unofficial match against Australia, are 1-0 in the tournament proper, 2-0 if you include their warm-up win against New Zealand, and they are just plain going strong. If they keep this up, a World Cup semi-final may well be on the cards. They are going to need to do more than this, though. They need to beat a contender, if not two, in the tournament proper.