Bridgetown - Shadab Khan produced an outstanding debut
performance as Pakistan completed a comfortable six-wicket victory over the
West Indies in the first fixture of a four-match Twenty20 international series
at Kensington Oval on Sunday.
Put in on a bright, breezy afternoon, the world champion
hosts were restricted to 111 for eight off their allotted 20 overs with the
tourists knocking off the runs with almost three overs to spare to extend their
T20 winning streak over their rivals to four following a 3-0 sweep in the United
Arab Emirates last September.
Shoaib Malik's unbeaten 38 and a 46-run fourth-wicket
partnership with Babar Azam ensured Pakistan reached their target with relative
comfort although they will be again concerned about the top order's inability
to take control of a modest challenge.
Brought on as the fifth bowler when the West Indies batted
in what looked like ideal conditions, 18-year-old Shadab's mesmerising mixture
of leg-breaks and googlies earned him figures of three for seven, the most
economical ever in the history of T20 international cricket by a debutant in a
complete four-over spell.
"I gained a lot of confidence from my performance in
this year's Pakistan Super League," said man of the match Shadab.
"I just hope I can continue from this good start and
make more important contributions for Pakistan."
West Indies only managed to get into three figures thanks to
an unbeaten 34 from captain Carlos Brathwaite.
He dominated a 37-run eighth-wicket partnership with
fellow-Barbadian Jason Holder, who was dismissed off the last delivery of the
"It's back to the drawing board again for us because
it's up to these same players to look at themselves in the mirror and honestly
assess what's going wrong," said Brathwaite.
"At least I was able to get some runs which took some
of the pressure off me personally."
Shadab removed opening batsman and wicketkeeper Chadwick
Walton and dangerous middle-order strokeplayer Lendl Simmons in his first over
before adding the scalp of Sunil Narine in his second.
Kamran Akmal, back in the national T20 side after an absence
of three years, deprived the newcomer a fourth wicket when he failed to hold on
to a diving catch at backward point offered by Kieron Pollard.
For all the struggles they faced against Pakistan's talented
and varied bowling attack, the home side's troubles started when Evin Lewis was
run out in the third over of the match by Ahmed Shehzad's direct hit from 40
metres out as the batsman attempted to complete a second run.
Marlon Samuels was unfortunate to be adjudged leg-before to
Pakistan's other slow bowler, Imad Wasim. Thereafter it was a combination of
impatience and poor shot selection which the visitors capitalised upon.
Unlike the impressive showing by Pakistan's newcomer, Rovman
Powell failed to make any impact on his T20 international debut for the West
An all-rounder in the mould of fellow-Jamaican Andre
Russell, who is now serving a one-year suspension from the game, Powell was
trapped leg-before by medium-pacer Hasan Ali in the midst of the batting slide
that effectively killed off any chance of the home side being competitive.
"There is no letting up from here," was Sarfraz
Ahmed's definitive statement after the win that makes him just the third
captain to commence his tenure at the helm in T20 internationals with five
consecutive wins after compatriot Misbah-ul-Haq and Sri Lanka's Kumar