It wasn't a case of Pakistan Zindabad but a case of Pakistan playing bad, as West Indies of old came to Trent Bridge to whip Pakistan by seven wickets in their first match of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England yesterday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had put a notice in the media centre that lunch would be served between the hours of 2 pm to 4 pm earlier in the day. Well, we didn't even get to that, as the game was finished before lunch.
West Indies pacers led by debutant Oshane Thomas (4/27) routed Pakistan for just 105 runs and in reply, they romped home at 108 for three in 13.4 overs.
Chris Gayle thumped 50 off 34 balls with six fours and three sixes, while Nicholas Pooran, playing in place of the injured Evin Lewis, cracked 34 not out off 19 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Earlier, the first cheer of the day came from the West Indies fans walking on the edge of the River Trent as the loudspeaker blared that Jason Holder had called correctly at the toss and was sending Pakistan in.
With early helpful conditions, both teams would have wanted to touch the grass first.
West Indies opening bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Jason Holder were given the new ball and within minutes the fans at here at the Trent Bride stadium were being saluted by Cottrell in his trademark soldier style, after he sent back opener Imam ul Haq for just two runs.
An out of sorts Holder then made way for Andre Russell and he immediately went to work, striking in his second over with the wicket of Fakhar Zaman for 22. The Jamaican all-rounder then got one to lift and bounce to take the edge of Harris Sohail's bat and Pakistan had lost three wickets before reaching the 50-run mark and were in a spot of trouble.
However, the man to deliver the prize scalp was Thomas, as he sent Pakistan's best batsman Babar Azam packing for 22. At the fall of Azam's wicket, the score was 62-4 and it was left up to the veterans in skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Muhammad Hafeez to repair the damage. But the Pakistan duo added 13 runs before Holder brought himself back on at the Pavilion End to remove Sarfaraz for eight via another catch to wicket-keeper Hope.
Holder would strike three balls later when new batsman Imad Wasim gloved an attempted pull for one. The ball lobbed just to the right of Gayle at first slip and he laboured around to pouch it. Holder's third over cost just two runs and had rooted out two more Pakistan scalps.
Soon after, the massive scoreboard at the City side read 78-7 when the umpire's finger pointed to the heavens on an appeal from Thomas, giving him his second wicket and sending Shadab Khan back to the pavilion for a 'duck'.
Thomas ended the innings soon after with figures of 4/27, while Holder ended with 3/42 and Russell 2/4.
The West Indies will have another five days before the next match against Australia at this venue and they will be hoping their injured players will recover in time.
- by Vinode Mamchan, from London