As was expected, Pakistan fielded a very strong side against the depleted, less talented Windies side and clinched a big win. But then even Pakistan’s weak unit would likely be very strong at home against a Caribbean unit missing so many of its regulars.
The home team approached the first game as they usually do. They were cautious at the start, with their 50 coming in the eighth over, and by the halfway mark they were 75. The real acceleration began in the final 10 when they scored 125 runs.
One reason for their slower-than-usual start was the early dismissal of their superstar batter Babar Azam. The captain has now a bit of a form problem, with three failures in Bangladesh followed by one here on home soil.
But if Babar doesn’t get you, Mohammad Rizwan does, which is what happened here. The pint-sized keeper scored 78, although the real star of the innings was upstart Haider Ali, whose 68 off 39 made that acceleration in the final 10 possible.
As their batsmen, Pakistani bowlers, too, had an easy night out, with Mohammad Wasim Jr picking four wickets and back-in-form Shadab Khan three. The series looks as good as over already.
And just as expected, West Indies were a mess in the tour opener. With the exception of Akeal Hosein, who got the prized wicket of Babar and just conceded 19 in his four, everyone else was superordinary.
The batters did a little better. Of course, a run chase of 201 was never going to be on, but the tourists could have put on a better show than they managed. The first wicket fell in the second over and they kept on tumbling at regular intervals.
The home side’s bowling was too strong, too finetuned, and just too good for the tourists. Shai Hope (31) showed some resistance up top and a few others from the lower order tried to put up a fight but the difference in overall qualities of the sides was just too much to bridge.