St Lucia: West Indies played to a thrilling tie against Pakistan in their 700th One-Day International on Friday at Beausejour Cricket Ground. Windies last man Jason Holder cracked 14 runs off the final over - including a huge six over extra-cover off the penultimate ball - as the two teams ended level on scores in Game 3 of the five-match rubber.
Holder ended on 19 not out off nine balls. He added a vital, unbeaten 24 off 13 balls with Kemar Roach, who made six not out. Earlier Sunil Narine hit 14 off five balls to help set-up the run chase. Lendl Simmons topscored with 75 - his 12th half-century at this level - to take a share of the Man of the Match award. He added 91 for the fourth wicket with Marlon Samuels, who made 46.
Needing three runs to win off the final ball, Holder got an edge to third man and scampered back for two as the Windies reached 229-9 in reply to Pakistan`s 229-6. Holder`s batting effort followed up the two wickets he took in the Pakistan innings. The former member of the Sagicor High Performance Centre said he was clear in his mind where he wanted to hit the ball in the final stages.
"I know my hitting area and I knew exactly the area I was targeting. I kept looking at the field and I knew the bowler would offer width on the off-stump," said the 21-year-old six-footer. "With my reach I knew I could make good contact and I backed myself to win the game. Coming close to the end I was focussed on getting the runs."
Holder added: "I have to give a lot of credit to Kemar. He had a lot of faith in me and he told me `you can do it!`...we both believed and in the end it was quite good to get the runs and at least come away with a tie."
Simmons said he was a bit disappointed he was unable to take the team to victory.
"I`m a bit disappointed that I was not able to carry on and win it for the team," the 29-year-old said. "I was playing really well but got out at a crucial stage in the run chase. But credit to Sunil and Jason for the way they played in a pressure situation.
"They are two of the younger members of the team and they really held their nerve...their batting was superb. At one stage it looked like we could not reach the target but they played the big shots, under pressure, and pulled off a great tie in the end. This really sets up the series and we will come out fighting again on Sunday."
The series is now level 1-1 - following the first two matches in Guyana. The two teams will return to the Beausejour Cricket Ground on Sunday for the fourth ODI. The fifth and final match will be played at the same venue next Wednesday.