Triple-ton Azam leads Pak­istan to series rout of West Indies

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ris­ing star Babar Azam hit his third suc­ces­sive hun­dred to an­chor Pak­istan’s 3-0 clean-sweep of the West Indies with a com­fort­able 136-run win in the third and fi­nal one-dayer yes­ter­day.

Azam smashed a 106-ball 117 while skip­per Azah Ali re­turned to form with a 109-ball 101 as Pak­istan com­piled 308-6 be­fore re­strict­ing West Indies to 172 in 44 overs on a flat Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium pitch.

It was an­other im­pe­ri­ous show by Pak­istan who won the first two matches by 111 and 59 runs re­spec­tively-both in Shar­jah. The rout also fol­lowed Pak­istan’s 3-0 white­wash in the pre­ced­ing Twenty20 series.

The two sides will go on to con­test a three­match Test series start­ing in Dubai from Oc­to­ber 13. The 3-0 ODI white­wash also lifted Pak­istan to num­ber eight in the one-day rank­ings, dis­plac­ing their op­po­nents to nine.

Azam, 21, be­came the eighth bats­men to make three hun­dreds in suc­ces­sive one-day in­ter­na­tion­als and he was again sub­lime in achiev­ing the mile­stone.

He also set a new record for most runs in a three-match one-day series with 360, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous high­est of 342 by South Africa’s Quin­ton de Kock who set it at home in 2013.

“Three hun­dreds in a row doesn’t come easy,” said Ali. “Ev­ery­one fought like tigers, so it feels great.” A dis­ap­pointed West In­dian cap­tain Ja­son Holder called for im­prove­ment.

“We haven’t been up to scratch in this series,” said Holder. “We just re­ally need to work on all as­pects of the game.” West Indies again lacked ag­gres­sion and big part­ner­ships in their in­nings, with De­nesh Ramdin top scor­ing with 37 and Holder mak­ing 26.

They also lost their last five wick­ets for just 13 runs with left-arm spin­ner Mo­ham­mad Nawaz (3-40) and pace­man Wa­hab Riaz tak­ing 2-28. Riaz also reached 100 one-day wick­ets in his 75th match.

Kraig Brath­waite (32) and Evin Lewis (22) had given the West Indies a solid 45-run start but wick­ets tubm­led at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, with Dar­ren Bravo (17), Mar­lon Sa­muels (13) and Kieron Pol­lard (11) fail­ing to shine.

Ear­lier Azam led Pak­istan’s bat­ting, set­ting his team up for a big to­tal with Ali.

Azam was fi­nally bowled by Pol­lard in the 46th over af­ter hit­ting eight bound­aries and a six in an­other dom­i­nat­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of bat­ting.

Ali, who failed in the first two games with a first-ball duck and nine, hit eight bound­aries and a six. He and fel­low opener Shar­jeel Khan (38) put Pak­istan on track for a big to­tal with an 85run start in 14.1 overs

Left-arm spin­ner Sulie­man Benn gave the West Indies their first break­through, in his sec­ond over, when Shar­jeel holed out at long-on af­ter hit­ting five bound­aries off 41 balls.

Ali and Azam added 147 for the sec­ond wicket be­fore Ali was bowled by Holder in the 39th over. Sar­fraz Ahmed made 24 not out as Pak­istan man­aged 96 runs in the last 15 overs. Azam is only the third bats­men from Pak­istan and eighth in the world to notch three hun­dreds in as many matches. Sri Lanka’s Ku­mar San­gakkara holds the record with four cen­turies in as many games.

Pak­istan’s Za­heer Ab­bass and Saeed An­war, South Africa’s Her­schelle Gibbs, AB de Vil­liers and de Kock, and New Zealand’s Ross Tay­lor are oth­ers to achieve the mile­stone.

West Indies play a day-night side game with a pink ball in Shar­jah from Fri­day as a re­hearsal for the first Test in Duabi, also a day-night match start­ing from Oc­to­ber 13. —AFP

ABU DHABI: Pak­istan’s bats­men Babar Azam (L) and Sar­fraz Ahmed run be­tween the wick­ets dur­ing the 3rd ODI cricket match be­tween Pak­istan and the West Indies at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Sta­dium in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day. — AFP

ABU DHABI: West Indies’ Evin Lewis (left) misses the ball as Pak­istan’s wick­et­keeper Sar­fraz Ahmed fields dur­ing the 3rd T20I cricket match be­tween Pak­istan and the West Indies at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Sta­dium yes­ter­day. —AFP

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