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Zulfiqar, Afridi lead Pakistan to last-ball win

Zulfiqar marks memorable international debut with six off final ball after taking 3 for 23, in West Indies’ first defeat since World T20

Zulfiqar, Afridi lead Pakistan to last-ball win - Cricket News
Man of the Match Shahid Afridi became the first player to hit 400 sixes in an international career.
Zulfiqar Babar completed a dream debut by striking the final ball of the match for six to give Pakistan a two-wicket victory over West Indies in the first Twenty 20 International at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Saturday (July 27).
 
Zulfiqar, 34, had earlier taken 3 for 23 with his left-arm spin on international debut, while helping restrict West Indies, the current T20 world champion, to 152 for 7. He then made the winning hit off Marlon Samuels with the scores level, handing West Indies its first defeat in the T20 format since it was crowned champion in October 2012 in Sri Lanka.
 
Pakistan now has the chance to displace West Indies from the second spot in the T20I rankings if it wins the second and final match at the same venue on Sunday.
 
Shahid Afridi, who became the first player to hit 400 sixes in an international career during his innings, was named Man of the Match for his 46 off 27 balls, but even he conceded that Zulfiqar was the man of the moment.
 
West Indies was rocked onto the back foot at 42 for 4 after choosing to bat first, after Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan captain, took the critical wickets of Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle, before Zulfiqar made an immediate impact by bowling Lendl Simmons in his first over.
 
He then added the scalps of Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, but not before Bravo and Kieron Pollard put on 56 for the fifth wicket.
 
"I was really happy to see the desire to win from the players, especially the newcomers in the side," said a relieved Hafeez. "It was always going to be tough to get a target like that on this pitch, but I was really impressed with the way Umar Amin (who was making his T20I debut) played and then Shahid Afridi brought it home."
 
Kieron Pollard, returning to something like his best form after an atrocious run in the preceding One-Day International series, finished unbeaten on 49 but was over-shadowed by Darren Sammy, the captain, who smashed 30 off just 14 balls and dominated a 53-run sixth-wicket stand.
 
Such was the extent of the carnage that 54 runs came off the final four overs to give West Indies a fighting chance.
 
Like West Indies, Pakistan also got off to a poor start before Umar Amin marked his first T20I with a polished 47, the highest score by a Pakistani on debut.
 
However wickets were falling around him until Afridi came to the crease and rode his luck in typically flamboyant style to tilt the balance Pakistan's way.
 
Pakistan was helped by Sammy’s decision not to bowl himself in the critical final stage of the match. He had conceded only four runs in his previous over, but he persisted with the expensive Shannon Gabriel for the penultimate over.
 
Gabriel claimed the wicket of Afridi but again proved costly, spraying an additional three wides down the legside to ease Pakistan towards its target.
 
"We should have been able to defend that total," said Sammy. "We gave away too many runs early on and could have fielded a lot better. I thought Gabriel with his extra pace would have made the difference at the death but it didn't work out that way."
 
Simmons ran out Saeed Ajmal with the scores level, but West Indies hopes of pulling off a tie, as it did in the ODI a week earlier in St Lucia, were ended by Zulfiqar's heave back over the bowler's head.

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