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Babar, Hafeez spearhead Pakistan's thrilling seven-run win

Guyana, 31 July 2021: Half-century from Captain Babar Azam and skillful bowling from the bowlers guided Pakistan to a thrilling seven-run win over West Indies in the second T20I at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Saturday. The win means Pakistan lead the four-match series 1-0, with the first match ending in no result due to rain.

Chasing 158 to win, West Indies were restricted to 150 for four on the back of an outstanding and miserly from the visitors led by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.

Hafeez bowled his most economical spell in the T20Is, giving away just six runs in four overs which included a maiden over and dismissal of Andre Fletcher on the second ball of the innings. He was awarded the best player of the match.

The hosts managed to score only 31 for the loss of two wickets in the batting powerplay which included the important scalp of Chris Gayle – who fell to Hasan Ali on the last ball of the powerplay besides Fletcher.

Nicholas Pooran (62 not out off 33 balls, four fours, six sixes) and Evin Lewis (35 retired hurt off 33 balls, two fours, two sixes) were significant contributors for the losing team who were stifled in their chase by Pakistan's accurate bowling.

Earlier, after being put into bat, Pakistan managed to score 157 for eight in their 20 overs. The rain interruption at the end of 16th over put breaks on the runs of the visitors who had scored 134 for two before the play was stopped due to rain.

After the resumption, in the last four overs of the innings, Pakistan lost six wickets for 23 runs. Babar top-scored scoring 51 off 40 balls. The right-handed brought up his 20th half-century in the T20I format in the 16th over when he struck Romario Shepherd for a six. He was supported by ever reliable Mohammad Rizwan who scored 46 off 36, laced with two fours and as many sixes.

The pair knitted 67 runs for the second-wicket.

During the course of the innings, the wicketkeeper-batsman broke the record for most runs by a batsman in a calendar year in the T20I format. Rizwan surpassed Ireland’s Paul Stirling 748 runs record set in 2019.

For West Indies, Jason Holder took four wickets for 26, while Dwayne Bravo grabbed two for 24 in his four overs.

The third match of the T20I series will be played tomorrow at the same venue.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan beat West Indies by seven runs

Pakistan 157-8, 20 overs (Babar Azam 51, Mohammad Rizwan 46; Jason Holder 4-26, Dwayne Bravo 2-24)

West Indies 150-4, 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 62 not out, Evin Lewis 35 retd hurt; Mohammad Hafeez 1-6, Hasan Ali 1-32, Mohammad Wasim Jr 1-32, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1-44)

Player of the match: Mohammad Hafeez