Mirpur: Pakistan’s fairytale World Cup journey continued as they stormed into the semi-finals of the ongoing Cricket World Cup by inflicting a humiliating defeat on the West Indian team by 10 wickets in the first quarter-finals at Mirpur on Wednesday.
After dismissing the Caribbean team for a paltry 112, the Pakistani openers made a mockery of the chase, overcoming the West Indian score in just 20.5 overs, setting up a possible mouthwatering semi-final clash with India at Mohali.
Pakistan openers Kamran Akmal and Mohd Hafeez, carrying the much needed momentum with them, gave a flying start to their team, scoring 30 in just 3 overs.
With the West Indies bowlers, be it spinners or fast bowlers, struggling in line and length, Pakistan reached 50-run mark in no time, adding salt to the Windies misery on a day when nothing went right for them.
After his superb bowling, Hafeez batted like a man on mission, scoring a classy half-century. He remained unbeaten on 61 off just 64 balls while his opening partner Kamran Akmal was unconquered on 47.
Earlier, Pakistan spinners came up with a superb show to bundle a hapless West Indian side out for a meager 112 runs.
Pakistan spin trio of Mohammad Hafeez (2/16), Shahid Afridi (4/30) and Saeed Ajmal (2/18) created panic in the West Indies dressing room as soon as they got their hands on the ball, picking up wickets at will, forcing the West Indies top and middle-order to surrender meekly in front of a superb show of spin bowling. In between them they picked up eight West Indian wickets.
Old warhorse Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul tried to pull them out of trouble by stitching together a fighting 42-run partnership in the middle. But Shahid Afridi brought the end of Ramnaresh Sarwan’s stubborn knock of 69-ball-24, opening the floodgates.
Afridi again struck as he baffled the dangerous Kieron Pollard for 1 to have West Indies on the mat. On the very next ball, he outwitted wicketkeeper Devon Thomas for a duck.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, included for this match, at the other end, did not let the West Indies off the hook as he got the wickets of skipper Darren Sammy and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo to wreck the West Indies batting order.
Such was the domination of the Pakistan spinners that West Indies lost four wickets for just 2 runs, losing wicket number 8 with just 71 runs on the board.
Medium pacer Abdul Razzaq removed tailender Kemar Roach for 16. Roach, who lent good support to experienced Chanderpaul and forged a crucial 40-run stand with him, finally went while trying to hit through the on-side.
Afridi, then, bowled number 11 Ravi Rampaul for a duck to wrap up West Indies innings for 112 in 43.3 overs. Afridi was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up 4 wickets for 30 runs.
Meanwhile, Chanderpaul, playing his first match of this World Cup, negotiated the Pakistani spinners well and did not buckle under pressure, remaining unbeaten on 44.
It all started with Chris Gayle being dismissed for just 9 in his customary fashion off Umar Gul after looking to take the Pakistan bowlers apart from the word go.
Gayle, who started off with two adventurous boundaries, tried to hit one too many off Gul only to be caught at mid-off where captain Shahid Afridi latched on to a sharp catch.
Once Gayle departed, it was Hafeez who immediately gave Pakistan a sense of control over the match by picking up two crucial wickets.
Off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez, bowling with the new ball along with Gul, struck twice in the sixth over to remove left-hand duo of Devon Smith and Darren Bravo to rattle the West Indies top-order.
When Darren Bravo went to the pavilion for naught, caught plumb in-front of the wickets off Hafeez, West Indies were tottering at 16/3.
Earlier, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to bat first in their World Cup quarter-final match against Pakistan.
West Indies were bolstered by the return of dashing opener Chris Gayle and pace spearhead Kemar Roach.
The duo was rested for the team`s last league match against India in Chennai, where they lost by 80 runs.
Gayle was rested due to abdominal strain while Roach was down with viral fever and stomach infection.
West Indies made three changes to their side bringing in Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Kemar Roach in place of Kirk Edwards, Sulieman Benn and Andre Russell.
Pakistan brought in Saeed Ajmal in place of Abdur Rehman.