MULTAN, 9 June (BelTA - Associated Press of Pakistan). - Pakistan defeated West Indies on Wednesday by five wickets to win the first match of the three-match One Day International (ODI) cricket series, powered by a Babar Azam century and impressive power hitting by Khushdil Shah at Multan Cricket Stadium.
West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first in the opening match of ODI series where Shai Hope demonstrated some entertaining cricket hitting fifteen (15) boundaries and a Six in his 127 runs off 134 balls inning. Coupled with 70 by Brooks, the two batsmen kept the spectators engaged at Multan Cricket Stadium (MCS) where cricket hungry fans of South Punjab witnessed an international level match after fourteen long years.
It was Hope's 12th ODI century that put visitors in a good position to beat rival team.
Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf bagged four wickets conceding 77 runs in 10 overs while Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed two wickets for 55.
Pakistan while chasing the target by West Indies, looked uncomfortable at the start of the inning, losing Fakhar Zaman in 7th over. However, the Skipper Babar Azam and opener Imam-Ul-Haq once again built a steady partnership to bring team in winning position.
Babar Azam scored his 17th century, fifth against West Indies while Imam-Ul-Haq and Muhammad Rizwan also contributed 65 and 57 runs respectively.
The match turned into a crucial stage when top order batsmen of Pakistan returned to pavilion and Khushdil Shah came to bat. The young players played a vital role in bringing Pakistan to victory by scoring 41 runs at just 23 balls.
The Pakistan squad was included Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Haris, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheed Shah Afridi and Hassan Ali while visiting team was led by Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Shamarh Brooks, Brandon King, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hosein, Jyden Seals and Hayden Walsh.
The Pakistan Skipper Babar Azam was declared player of the match but he nominated Khushdil Shah as player of the match for his power hitting on the crucial stage of the match and played a vital role in victory of the team.
Speaking at the concluding ceremony, WI Captain Nicholas Pooran said that despite hot weather and facing best team against his young squad the boys played well. He said that he was confident with the overall performance of the team and said that victory and defeat was part of game. He said that the team would overcome the weakness and would give more tough time to the hosting team.
The stadium was jam-packed with spectators eager to see Babar Azam and his boys do some outstanding work with bat to win the opening game against the Nicholas Pooran-led West Indies team. The spectators not only supported Pakistan team but also the visiting team.