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Pakistan look for strong finish in final ODI

PROVIDENCE (Guyana), May 4: Pakistan will be looking to give unshakeable proof that the West Indies were fortunate to gain a victory in their One-day International series, when the final match is contested on Thursday at the Guyana National Stadium.

The Pakistanis were upstaged by rain and a blistering innings from Lendl Simmons to lose the previous match on Monday at Kensington Oval by one run under the Duckworth-Lewis Method.

The visitors have an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series, following victories in the first three matches, but they will want to sign-off with a strong performance to knock West Indies back down a few notches, particularly with the two-Test series looming.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said that though the conditions they contested the previous match were difficult, his side should have still performed much better.

“We started on a difficult pitch, but the way Mohammad Hafeez batted, we thought we would have scored 270 to 275,” he said. “But I think we missed that chance, and we did not bat well in the end. It was disappointing because we missed an opportunity to score a big total, and we have to do much better, and show more consistency in the future.”

Afridi said though the Pakistanis wanted to give some of the less experienced players an opportunity to play, he still felt that they were good enough to help the side finish the series on top.

“I am pretty happy with our boys, and the way they have played in this series, so I think we can be proud,” he said. “We set a total in the previous game, and in the conditions, and with our attack, I felt it was a decent target, but the weather played a role, and we lost.”

West Indies Darren Sammy was relieved to get a victory over a Test-playing nation other than Bangladesh for the first time in two years, but he is looking forward to the final match, and hoped there are no interruptions to prove that the hosts are the genuine article.

“It has been a long time since we have beaten a top side, but we took the opportunity, and came through in the end,” he said. “We needed that victory, and it was good to win against a top side, and the guys will take the positives from this game, and we will look to take confidence from it, and put it into play here.”

As always, the two teams will keep their gazes fixed to the skies to see if the weather will allow them to achieve their goals. The forecast for Thursday indicated scattered thunderstorms with a 60 percent chance of rain.

But the Guyana National Stadium, a gift from India to the Guyanese people, boasts a hi-tech drainage system under the surface. Like many of the international grounds in the Caribbean now, it was installed when the facility was constructed ahead of the 2007 World Cup, which was staged in the region.

Teams (from):

WEST INDIES: Darren Sammy (captain), Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Martin.

PAKISTAN: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Salman, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Abdur Rehman, Tanvir Ahmed, Taufiq Umar, Usman Salahuddin, Sadaf Hussain.

Umpires: Norman Malcolm (West Indies) and Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka).

TV umpire: Joel Wilson (West Indies).

Match referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).