A devastating display by their battery of fast bowlers sped the West Indies to an impressive victory in their opening match of the ICC World Cup 2019.
The two-time winners rolled back the years to defeat Pakistan by 7 wickets in a match that was completed in a total of only 35.2 overs.
Oshane Thomas, who took the player-of-the match award, was backed up by Jason Holder’s 3-42 as Pakistan were dismissed for just 105 in only 21.4 overs.
Andre Russell was also instrumental in dismantling the Pakistan top order, recording early figures of 3-1-4-2, after Sheldon Cottrell had taken the opening wicket of the match.
Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were joint top-scorers in a disappointing batting display, with each making only 22.
West Indies raced to 106-3 in 13.4 overs, with Mohammad Amir taking 3-26, removing Shai Hope, Darren Bravo and Chris Gayle, who made a typically belligerent 50.
Gayle, as usual, looked to get the chase off to a fast start and hit Hassan Ali for back-to-back sixes in the fourth over. Hope (11) then miscued Amir to wide mid-off and Bravo (0) followed by edging to slip.
39-year old Gayle, who was man-of-the-match in his first Trent Bridge ODI back in 2000, romped to his 50 from just 33 balls, with six fours and three maximums, but then spooned the ball high to point.
Only 29 runs were needed by then and Nicholas Pooran wasted little time in accelerating towards the finishing line, hitting Wahab Riaz for six over midwicket to finish the match and move to an undefeated 34.
The West Indies’ side included two players with Nottinghamshire connections; Bravo had played a handful of matches at the back end of the 2011 season and Russell was in the Outlaws’ set-up that reached T20 Finals Day in 2016.
Both started the day in the field after Holder had won the toss and opted to bowl first. Cottrell began with a wide when bowling from the Pavilion End but didn’t have long to wait before making the initial breakthrough.
Cottrell, who also serves as a soldier in the Jamaican Defence Force, was soon saluting a success as Imam-ul-Haq (2) gloved down the leg-side to give Hope his 50th ODI catch as West Indies’ wicketkeeper.
Fakhar (22) had looked in fine early touch, hooking Holder over square leg for six but the introduction of Russell saw him deflect a bouncer onto his stumps, via the grille.
From 35-2 after six overs, it became 45-3 in the 10th as Russell’s extra pace and bounce did for Haris Sohail (8), who flinched at a 90mph delivery and gave Hope another catch.
Babar was dropped on 12, cutting Carlos Brathwaite to backward point but Shimron Hetmyer put down the gift.
The same batsman wasn’t so fortunate when he flailed at Thomas, when on 22. Hope’s superb leaping effort reduced the score to 62-4.
All hope of a revival rested upon the shoulders of captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and the experienced Mohammad Hafeez, playing in his third ICC World Cup.
With five fast bowlers operating, the batsmen were continually subjected to a barrage of short-pitched deliveries; a mode of attack that frequently had the Pakistan supporters voicing their disapproval.
Holder’s opening spell had been abruptly shortened, conceding 20 runs from only two overs.
His returning over reduced the score from 75-4 to 77-6, with Hope getting his fourth catch from another leg-side deflection. The West Indies captain needed a review to remove his opposite number, Sarfaraz Ahmed (8) but only necessitated a simple slip catch from Gayle to send back Imad Wasim (1).
The procession continued as Thomas pinned Shadab Khan (0) and then Holder had Hassan Ali (1) miscuing to Cottrell at mid-off.
Pakistan had lost four wickets in 15 deliveries, for the addition of only six runs.
Hafeez (16) also showed his vulnerability against the rising ball and was comfortably taken at long leg when trying to help Thomas over the ropes.
The last pair were at the crease in the 20th over, with only 83 on the board but showed some defiance.
Wahab damaged Holder’s figures slightly, by clubbing the West Indies’ captain for two big leg-side sixes, either side of a lofted boundary to cover.
Thomas twice over-stepped, presenting free hits and further scoring opportunities but the young quick redeemed himself by clean-bowling the swishing Wahab (18), leaving Amir unbeaten on 3 not out.
It was never likely to be enough and the contest was all over before 2pm, to the disappointment of the large and noisy following that had earlier arrived in huge expectation of witnessing a high-scoring thriller.
Pakistan, tournament winners in 1992, will hope to put the performance behind them quickly, with another Trent Bridge appearance due for their second match, on Monday 3 June 2019, when they face favourites England.
West Indies can also look forward to playing their next match in Nottingham, with a meeting against Australia pencilled in for Thursday 6 June 2019.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with advance tickets priced at £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s. Secure your seats here…