Mohammad Hafeez accelerated from a pedestrian start to pace Pakistan to a formidable 308 for five batting first against the West Indies in the opening one-day international at the National Stadium in Guyana on Friday.
Amid increasing speculation about his worth to the team, the 36-year-old right-hander contributed a top score of 88 to temporarily quell the rising tide of criticism at his position in the batting line-up ahead of prolific youngster Babar Azam.
Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad benefited from an early slice of luck to get to 67 while Shoaib Malik, who also capitalised on poor out cricket by the West Indies, flailed away for 53 off 38 deliveries as Pakistan set a new record for the highest ODI innings at the venue and also equalled their highest total against the West Indies in the 50-over format of the game.
Ashley Nurse enjoyed success amid the carnage, the off-spinner finishing with his best ODI figures of four for 62.
In contrast, the other frontline spinner in the West Indies line-up, Devendra Bishoo, was only the sixth bowler used by captain Jason Holder, conceding 36 runs from six wicketless and unthreatening overs.
Playing on a surface relaid after continuous complaints about its low and slow nature since the ground was opened for the 2007 World Cup, Holder admitted to a cautious approach in choosing to field first on winning the toss.
However there was no hesitancy from the Pakistan opening pair with Shehzad and Kamran Akmal flaying opening bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph to all parts of the ground.
Their stand of 85 off 15 overs set the tone for the innings, although Hafeez's struggles to get going at the start of his innings appeared to frustrate the Pakistan team and especially the man he replaced at number three in the batting order, Azam.
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who marked his first international appearances at senior level with two man of the match performances and man of the series award in the tourists' 3-1 T20 series triumph, is making his ODI debut for Pakistan in a bowling line-up that shows the return of left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
West Indies, who have never successfully chased a total of 300 or more in an ODI, are seeking a clean sweep of the series to move ahead of Pakistan at number eight in the international rankings.
By the cut-off date of September 30 this year, the top eight teams, including hosts England, will automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup.