Pakistan wicket-keeper Umar Akmal missed a run-out opportunity and the West Indies last-wicket pair of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder scrambled two runs off the final ball to tie the third one-day international on Friday.
Responding to the tourists’ total of 229 for six, and requiring 15 off the final over to win, Holder smashed a four and a six over cover off medium-pacer Wahab Riaz to keep the home side’s unlikely prospects alive, resulting in the last ball drama that leaves the series level at 1-1 going into the fourth match at the same venue here on Sunday.
West Indies middle-order batsman Lendl Simmons and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, the joint top-scorers with 75 runs each in the thrilling encounter, also shared the man-of-the-match award.
However, Misbah found it difficult to accept how his team could not have won the match after reducing the Caribbean side to 205 for nine in the 49th over.
“It’s really, really disappointing, but I have to say the way Holder played at the end he took the game away from us,” said an incredulous Misbah.
“In that last over there were too many full deliveries to the tailenders, but hats off to them, they played well,’’ he added.
In his usual calm, unruffled manner, Misbah had compiled his runs to steady the Pakistan innings after the early loss of both openers while Akmal swatted an unbeaten 40 off 31 deliveries, dominating an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 52 off 26 balls with Wahab (19 not out) to give the tourists a fighting chance on a pitch offering considerably more pace and bounce than for the first two ODIs in Guyana.
Holder and Dwayne Bravo took two wickets apiece but skipper Bravo’s decision to persist with himself in the final overs proved costly, his last three overs being plastered for 40 runs.
It was a bewildering decision given that Marlon Samuels had bowled only three overs in conceding just four runs and was not utilised at the end.
“This was a match we should have won after the bowlers had done such a good job,” a disappointed Bravo insisted. “Once again the batting let us down. It should never have gotten down to the bowlers having to save us,’’ he added.