Castries (St. Lucia), July 20 (IANS/CMC) West Indies pulled off a tie from the brink of defeat in a thrilling finish to their third One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan at the Beausejour Stadium here.
Chasing 230, after Pakistan posted 229/6 off their 50 overs, the West Indies scored 229/9 from their quota of 50 overs Friday, reports CMC.
Fast bowler Jason Holder, at 21 the youngest member of the West Indies team, held his nerve in the last over when the hosts required 15 runs. In an eventful last-wicket partnership with fellow Barbadian Kemar Roach, they took 14 runs off the decisive over, bowled by Wahab Riaz, as Holder lashed a four off the third ball and a massive six over extra cover off the fifth.
The equation was then three runs off the final ball before Holder edged to third man and collected two which tied the scores. Holder seemed to be short of his ground on the second run as the throw came back to Pakistani wicketkeeper Umar Akmal, who failed to collect the ball.
That secured an unlikely result for the West Indies, who struggled against tight bowling from the Pakistani spin and pace attack before and after a crucial fourth-wicket partnership between Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons.
Paceman Mohhamad Irfan tilted the match in favour of the visitors when he broke the critical partnership (91 runs off 22 overs) between Simmons (75) and Samuels (46). He had Samuels caught behind edging a lifting ball with the score on 141 in the 39th over. Then Saeed Ajmal accounted for Simmons, caught at deep midwicket by Shehzad. With the score on 178/5, Pakistan continued to collect wickets and control the game.
The hosts went into the last 10 overs with the score on 144/4, needing 85 off 60 balls but were in deep trouble as captain Dwayne Bravo, Keiron Pollard and Darren Sammy got out cheaply in a space of eight balls.
Spinner Sunil Narine gave the home team a glimmer of hope with a fiery 14 off five balls but once it was left to the last pair, Pakistan fancied their chances of moving ahead 2-1 in the series.
However Holder's unbeaten 19, from nine balls, ensured that the series remain level at 1-1, after the two teams won a match each in Guyana.
Earlier in the match, Pakistan were steered to their modest total with a fighting half century from captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who held the innings together when Pakistan had seemingly lost their way. Misbah scored 75 off 112 balls before he was yorked by Bravo in the 44th over with the score on 174.
A crucial seventh-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper Akmal (40 not out) and Riaz (19), who put on 52 off 26 balls, helped Pakistan push beyond 200.
The fourth ODI will be played here Sunday.