They're The Perfect Hosts!
Hosts West Indies beat Pakistan by 54 runs to get World Cup 2007 under way at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday night.
Hosts West Indies cemented their status as dark horses with a 54-run victory over Pakistan in the opening match of the World Cup today.
Brian Lara's side successfully defended a target of 242 when they dismissed Pakistan for 187 in 47.2 overs to win the first World Cup match on Caribbean soil.
Shoaib Malik hit the top score of 62, but all-rounder Dwayne Smith swung the match decisively West Indies' way when he snared three wickets for 36 runs from his allotment of 10 overs.
Dwayne Bravo collected three for 42 from nine overs, and Daren Powell supported with two for 42.
Earlier, Marlon Samuels struck five fours and three sixes in the top score of 63, and there were some other useful contributions from Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara, and Smith, after West Indies were sent in to bat.
Iftikhar Anjum had been the most successful Pakistan bowler with three wickets for 44 runs from 10 overs. Umar Gul and Mohammad Hafeez supported with two wickets apiece.
Imran Nazir gave Pakistan an enterprising start, when he hit the second ball of the innings – from Daren Powell – over cover for six, but then edged the next ball to the keeper.
Pakistan suffered a further setback when Younis Khan was caught behind for nine top-edging a hook at a short, rising delivery from Jerome Taylor in the fourth over.
The early pressure on the visitors built further when Mohammad Hafeez was caught at mid-on for 11 off Powell in the 11th over.
Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq came to the crease and drew on all of his experience – and the support of Yousuf – to tame the West Indies' bowlers, who were egged on by a noisy capacity crowd.
Both batsmen played some rasping, trademark strokes in a stand of 60 for the fourth wicket, but Smith triggered a collapse, when he had Yousuf caught behind for 37 in the 29th over.
West Indies strengthened their grip when Smith had Inzamam palpably lbw for 36 in the 33rd over, and next ball, he had Kamran Akmal caught low down at square cover for a duck to leave Pakistan 116 for six.
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan came to the crease, and he stalled West Indies with Shoaib before he was bowled for 11 in the 41st over to effectively kill off Pakistan's hopes.
Pakistan had won the toss and chosen to field on a hard, true Sabina Park pitch, and to the disappointment of many in the packed coliseum, they had early success, when Gul had local hero Chris Gayle caught behind for two in the third over.
There was a huge sigh of relief when Sarwan top-edged a cut at his short, wide first ball – from Gul – and Younis failed to hold onto the catch at second slip.
Sarwan and compatriot Shivnarine Chanderpaul held their nerve, and endured the early pressure to ease the West Indies' worries.
Sarwan showed he had overcome the nerves of his early indiscretion when he drove Naved through the covers twice – the first a searing stroke along the ground, the second a lofted drive over the inner ring of fielders.
Chanderpaul was the perfect foil, and punctuated periods of solid resistance with the occasional adventurous stroke which included a neat flick through backward square leg for four off Naved when the bowler was switched to the northern end of the ground for a second spell before Iftikhar provided the breakthrough.
But Chanderpaul was caught behind for 19 after he was squared-up by a delivery swinging across him from Iftikhar in the 20th over, and Sarwan, eyeing his half-century, was caught by Younis at second slip off the same bowler for 49.
Lara joined Samuels at the wicket, and they put West Indies back on track with a partnership of 91 for the fourth wicket.
It was truly a purple patch for the hosts in which Samuels brought the crowd to its feet in one over in particular, when he struck Danish Kaneria for a couple of sixes over the long-on boundary.
The batting of Samuels completely overshadowed Lara, and they were just about to get into the thick of things, when Hafeez dismissed them both in the space of 17 balls.
Lara was caught behind for 37 top-edging a sweep at Hafeez, who also had Samuels caught at long-on to leave West Indies 181 for five in the 44th over.
Smith arrived and blasted 32 from 15 balls, and he hit a couple sixes over mid-wicket – his favourite area – off Hafeez and Iftikhar, but he was caught at mid-off off Gul trying to increase the tempo leaving Dwayne Bravo and the bowlers to make the most of the most of the closing overs.
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