PROVIDENCE - Pakistan's spinners once again had the West Indies batsmen flailing hopelessly, but Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard finally hit form to set a competitive target in the second ODI in Providence. Darren Bravo had provided the solidity early on to prevent the innings from unravelling as it so often has in recent times but Pakistan kept the runs in check and a wicket almost always seemed imminent.
At 150 for 5 in the 39th over, with only the inconsistent allrounders to come, the only thing Pakistan had to complain about was some chewing gum which got entangled with the ball, but Pollard and Dwayne Bravo put on 80 brisk runs to pad West Indies' score to a respectable one.
Misbah-ul-Haq's hope that his bowlers would exploit the early moisture in the surface bore fruit in the first over itself as Mohammad Irfan's swinging deliveries dismissed the out-of-form Chris Gayle for 1. The more gentle medium-pace of Asad Ali didn't complement the threat provided by Irfan, as he routinely strayed with the new ball to allow Darren Bravo some confidence-building boundaries. Darren Bravo stabilised the innings after Gayle's early exit, weathering the sideways movement and bounce of Irfan
Keeping him company was opener Johnson Charles, whose inability to rotate the strike built the pressure on him to go for the big hits. He had only one single in the first ten overs, which prompted a swat to midwicket off Irfan, and a risky loft taking on the man at long-on in Saeed Ajmal's first over. He stuck around till the 19th over before perishing while going for another wild Hollywood hit, completely missing the legspinner from Shahid Afridi.
That brought in another of West Indies' struggling batsmen. Less than two weeks ago, Marlon Samuels had his hands full of trophies at the annual West Indies awards. There is little chance of him repeating that at next year's ceremony, given his dreadful form in 2013. The struggles were again on display in the second ODI against Pakistan, as he crawled to 11 off 51 deliveries, seldom at ease against the accuracy of the three Pakistan spinners. He was finally undone by a straighter one from Ajmal, and walked off with a shrug, acknowledging Ajmal had got the better of him.
That was Ajmal's second big wicket, having earlier ended Darren Bravo's stay on 54 with a doosra. West Indies had sprinted to 49 for 1 after 10 overs, not losing momentum despite a 45-minute rain break, but the spinners slowed them after that, with the next 20 overs only allowing 61 runs.
When the batting Powerplay only yielded 18 runs and cost two wickets, West Indies looked headed for a score around 200. Dwayne Bravo, after overcoming a nervy start, and Pollard, though showed off their hitting ability - with Pollard repeatedly powering the ball down the ground, and Dwayne Bravo regularly pinging the off-side boundaries. The big push arrived when Wahab Riaz was taken for 18 in the 47th over, and West Indies ended up on a total which should test Pakistan's famously shaky batting.
C Gayle c Umar b Irfan 1
J Charles st Umar b Afridi 31
DM Bravo b Ajmal 54
M Samuels b Ajmal 21
L Simmons c Umar b Afridi 10
DJ Bravo not out 43
K Pollard b Asad 30
D Sammy run out 3
K Roach run out 0
S Narine not out 1
EXTRAS: (b 5, lb 11, w 21, nb 1) 38
TOTAL: (8 wkts; 50 overs) 232
FOW: 1-2, 2-81, 3-123, 4-137, 5-150, 6-220, 7-226, 8-226
BOWLING: M Irfan 10-0-38-1, Asad Ali 6-1-35-1, Saeed Ajmal 10-0-45-2, M Hafeez 7-0-32-0, Wahab Riaz 7-0-37-0, Shahid Afridi-10-0-29-2
PAKISTAN: Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Asad Ali, M Irfan
UMPIRES: N Llong (Eng), PJ Nero (WI)
TV UMPIRE: P Reiffel (Aus)
MATCH REFEREE: D Boon (Aus)