DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) – Pressure continued to mount on out-of-form superstar Chris Gayle after yet another failure yesterday, coming in West Indies’ seven-wicket defeat to Pakistan in their first official warm-up ahead of next weekend’s start of the Twenty20 World Cup group stage.
The Caribbean side mustered only 130 for seven off their 20 overs, with Shimron Hetmyer top-scoring with 28 and captain Kieron Pollard getting 12, while the 42-year-old Gayle scraped 20 from 30 deliveries.
Left-hander Chris Gayle walks off after being dismissed cheaply in West Indies’ warm-up defeat to Pakistan yesterday.
In reply, Pakistan easily chased down the paltry target, at the ICC Academy, with 27 balls to spare. The run chase was spearheaded by captain Babar Azam who stroked exactly 50 off 41 deliveries while Fakhar Zaman hit an unbeaten 46 from 24.
West Indies open their campaign on Saturday against England at Dubai International Stadium, but the reigning world champions were anything but impressive as they struggled after choosing to bat first.
They lost Andre Fletcher cheaply for two in the third over with the score on 12, and opener Lendl Simmons (18) and Gayle struggled to score, leaving West Indies on 30 for two when Simmons perished off the final delivery of the power-play.
Gayle, whose place in the side has been questioned due to his wretched average of 17 in T20 Internationals this year, failed to change any minds, counting two fours before going bowled by fast bowler Haris Rauf (2-32) in the 14th over with only 63 runs on the board.
Two small partnerships then propelled West Indies past three figures. Firstly, Hetmyer struck three fours in a 24-ball knock as he added 30 for the fifth wicket with Nicholas Pooran (13) before Pollard, batting at number seven, lashed five fours in a 10-ball cameo to put on a further 22 for the sixth wicket with Hayden Walsh.
Pakistan’s run chase was never in danger, especially after the irrepressible Babar put 36 for the first wicket with wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan (13) and then joined forces with Fakhar in posting 58 for the second wicket.
The right-handed Babar counted half-dozen fours and a six while Fakhar, a left-hander, hit four fours and a couple of sixes to put Pakistan in sight of victory.
Even when leg-spinner Walsh (2-41) removed both Babar and Mohammad Hafeez (0) in the 12th over, Pakistan never wavered as Fakhar remained steady.