Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Pakistan’s Babar sparkles with both bat and ball

Reuters and AFP, KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi bats during practice in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 3.

Photo: AFP

Thirty-four-year debutant Zulfiqar Babar took three key wickets, then struck a six off the final ball of the match to give Pakistan a two-wicket victory over the West Indies in their first Twenty20 international on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi became the first cricketer to hit 400 sixes in an international career. Chris Gayle, playing for the West Indies, is next on the list, having hit 353 sixes in his Test, one-day international and T20 career.

Babar dismissed Marlon Samuels (25), Lendl Simmons (6) and Dwayne Bravo (25) to finish with three for 23 from his four overs in the West Indies’ 152 for seven at Arnos Vale Ground in St Vincent.

The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals in their run chase, but were always up with the required rate and, with the scores tied and one ball to go, Babar launched Samuels over the mid-off boundary to seal the win.

Kieron Pollard (49 not out) showed a welcome return to form as he anchored the West Indies innings after they had won the toss and elected to bat.

Pakistan lost early wickets in their reply, but Umar Amin, also playing his first T20 international, smashed 47 in 34 balls before he was stumped off the bowling of Samuels.

Shahid Afridi took Pakistan close, scoring 46 from just 27 deliveries, including launching his 400th six in all international cricket.

With Pakistan needing six off the last over, Samuels took his team to the brink of a super over, before bowling a full toss that Babar smashed for six from the final delivery.

“It was a great effort from the players, I was really happy to see the desire to win and really happy with the contributions of the debutants and Shahid Afridi. It was a tough chase, we had to be positive,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez told a television interviewer.

The second and final match of the series was to be played at the same venue yesterday.

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