Pakistan hold nerve to pip West Indies

Pakistan’s Rana Navid ul Hassan has West Indies’ Darren Sammy in trouble.

For the first half of the opening Group A fixture in the Champions Trophy at the Wanderers on Wednesday, the script held true as Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack cut a swathe through the Caribbean top-order. The second half, however, was anything but routine, the unheralded Gavin Tonge (4/25) single-handedly threatening to unleash an upset of gargantuan proportions before Pakistan held their nerve and completed an unconvincing five-wicket victory.

Bowled out well before the scheduled supper break, few expected the West Indies to make a fist of it, but even in the 45 minutes to the interval, Tonge offered enough indications that he was determined to ensure this was no walk in the park. In the end, it needed the enterprise and ice-cool temperament of the 19-year-old Umar Akmal to steady the rocking Pakistani boat, the World T20 champions stumbling over the line at 134 for five.

While the points went Pakistan’s way, it was the West Indian bravehearts who captured the imagination of a disappointingly sparse gathering, none more so than the 26-year-old Tonge. The Antiguan, playing only his third one-dayer, put on a wonderful exhibition of sustained hostility, feeding off assistance from the surface and cashing in on the inexplicable diffidence of the Pakistani batsmen. Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal fired out before the interval which Pakistan reached at 35 for two -- Tonge also had Mohammad Yousuf dropped on one by Darren Sammy at second slip -- the right-arm quick accounted for Shoaib Malik and Yousuf upon resumption. David Bernard dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq to another loose stroke to make it 76 for five, raising genuine visions of a massive shock when Umar stepped up to the plate.

Score Board
133 all out
Nazir b Tonge    5
(6b, 1x4)
K Akmal c Walton b Tonge    5
(12b, 1x4)
Malik c Walton b Tonge    23
(39b, 2x4, 1x6)
Yousuf c Walton b Tonge    23
(31b, 4x4)
Misbah c Walton b Bernard    6
U Akmal (not out)    41
(51b, 6x4)
Afridi (not out)    17
(25b, 1x4)
Extras (LB-2, W-9, NB-3)    14
Total (for 5 wkts, 30.3 overs)    134
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Nazir), 2-21 (K Akmal), 3-54 (Malik), 4-61 (Yousuf), 5-76 (Misbah). Bowling: Sammy 7-0-29-0, Tonge 10-3-25-4 (w-1, nb-2), Best 6.3-0-50-0 (w-5, nb-1), Bernard 7-0-28-1 (w-3). Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 35/2; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 26/1; Power Play 3: not taken.

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