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The battle for survival

Pakistan and the West Indies will soon begin a battle for an automatic place in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in a three-match one-day series

The battle for survival

Pakistan and the West Indies will soon begin a battle for an automatic place in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in a three-match one-day series.

Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed is ready for the seven-week assignment against West Indies as the new ODI captain. His first task is to win the One-day International series to confirm Pakistan’s direct WC qualification.

Pakistan slumped to 9th position after a 4-1 defeat in England last year and Australia 3-0 earlier this. It cost Azhar Ali the captaincy and now he has also been dropped from the ODI side.

Currently Pakistan are ranked eighth in ODIs with 89 points. The Caribbean team is ninth with 84 points. Bangladesh are on seventh place with 91 points.

Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur remains hungry for success. He wants Pakistan team to be in the first four of ODI rankings.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies have varied problems in the 50-overs game. But the Green-shirts have a good opportunity to beat the hosts as West Indies current team isn’t even a shadow of its ‘80s and ‘90s teams. On the other hand if hosts Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh, Pakistan could move to a secure seventh position.

West Indies will again be without dashing opener Chris Gayle, who is unavailable for the tour, and Andre Russell, missing due to an anti-doping hearing.

Pakistan defeated West Indies in all three formats last year in the UAE. The Green-shirts swept both the T20I and ODI series, before taking the Test series 2-1.

It was Kraigg Brathwaite’s 142 not out followed by a 60 not out that helped West Indies to a win in the final Test in Sharjah.

It is the first Pakistan tour of the West Indies since 2013, when Pakistan won a five-match ODI series 3-1 and swept a pair of T20Is.

A team that doesn’t get into the top eight by September will have to participate in the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifier.

The last four sides on the ODI team rankings and six teams from the World Cricket League will play in the World Cup Qualifier in 2018. The top two sides from this event will complete the 10-team line-up for the 2019 World Cup.

In the recently announced squads for One-day Internationals and Twenty20 series, former wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and dashing opener Ahmed Shahzad have made comeback. Former ODI skipper Azhar Ali, Yasir Shah and Umar Akmal have been dropped.

But some domestic and PSL performers, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan Shinwari, Mohammad Asghar and Fahim Ashraf, have been included.

The two teams have played 130 One-day Internationals. West Indies have the upper hand with 69 wins. Pakistan won on 58 occasions. Three matches were tied.

West Indies’ 339-4 in Adelaide in January 2005 is the highest score from both sides. Pakistan made their best score of 337-5 in Sharjah in October 2016.

Pakistan were bowled out for just 43 in Cape Town in February 1993, their lowest ever total. West Indies scored 98 in July 2014 in Providence.

The Caribbean side beat Pakistan by 150 runs in Christchurch in February 2015. Pakistan recorded their biggest ever win against West Indies — by 138 runs — in Sharjah in October 1999.

Former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes is the highest scorer with 2390 runs in 65 matches, averaging 41.92, including four centuries and 18 fifties.

For Pakistan, former skipper Javed Miandad scored 1930 runs in 64 appearances. He hit one hundred and 12 half-centuries.

Brian Lara’s 156 is the highest individual score from both teams. He played the innings in Adelaide in January 2005.

Former opener Saeed Anwar scored 131 runs in Sharjah in November 1993 for Pakistan. Lara scored five centuries against Pakistan. Young Babar Azam has played only three ODIs, but he is the highest century maker against West Indies with three centuries.

Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram took 89 wickets in 64 matches against West Indies, averaging 25.57. West Indies’ most successful bowler against Pakistan has been Curtly Ambrose with 69 wickets in 44 matches, at an average of 21.35.

Imran Khan led Pakistan in 39 ODIs against West Indies, won 14 and lost 24. Viv Richards led West Indies in 25 matches, won 17 and lost eight.

Khurram Mahmood

Sports Khurram Mahmood

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