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West Indies vs. Pakistan first ODI: Five players to watch out for

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Top 5 / Top 10 13 Jul 2013, 17:05 IST
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Pakistan began their tour of the West Indies with a seven-run win over Guyana in a practice match ahead of the five-match ODI series.

It was a competitive game that allowed Pakistan to adapt to the slow and dry conditions. Their batsmen especially required that bit of practice as they had a dismal Champions Trophy prior to this tour, where they failed to score 200 in any of the three matches they participated in. It was also an opportunity to test the balance of the side.

Pakistan lost the toss and were asked to bat by Guyana. Nasir Jamshed who opened the innings alongside Ahmed Shehzad departed early but his opening partner held fort. Captain Misbah-Ul-Haq promoted himself to number four giving an indication of what might happen when the series begins.

Except for Shehzad who scored a determined knock of 68 runs, all Pakistani batsmen failed to turn their starts into anything significant as the total was curtailed to 246 at the end of 50 overs.

Saeed Ajmal starred with the ball exploiting the spin available in the surface to pick up five wickets in the match. Md. Irfan chipped in with three wickets as well.

West Indies, on the other hand, enjoyed a couple of days of rest after India pipped them to the final of the tri-nations series final. West Indies had begun that tournament well with a couple of victories courtesy some brilliant individual performances by Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles but they failed to rise to the occasion at the Port of Spain as India and Sri Lanka made the final.

They have made a few changes to their squad for this series leaving out wicket-keeper Dinesh Ramdin, whereas Jason Holder comes in for the injured Ravi Rampaul.

Here is a list of five players who will make a difference to the eventual result of the first ODI to be played on Sunday:

CRICKET-PAK-AUS

Misbah ul-Haq

5. Misbah ul-Haq

The Pakistan captain had come under intense pressure during the Champions Trophy due to his position in the batting order. Playing in the lower middle-order he found himself more often than not trying to resurrect a failing innings.

He promoted himself to number four in the practice match against Guyana and is likely to do the same against the West Indies on Sunday.

He was Pakistan’s only player who showed some resistance in the trying conditions of England at the Champions Trophy, finishing with two half-centuries in three matches and a batting average of over 86.50.

He certainly has the ability to anchor the innings for Pakistan and a top-order batting position will also allow him to pace his innings according to his own wishes.

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