West Indies launched their World Cup 2019 campaign with a thumping seven-wicket victory over Pakistan, orchestrated by the pacers and garnished with a typical Chris Gayle fifty, at Trent Bridge on Friday. After bouncing out Pakistan for a lowly 105 inside 22 overs – their second-lowest in World Cups – the Caribbean side completed the formalities in 13.4 overs to pick up their first points in the competition.
Gayle set the pace for a modest chase, with West Indies scoring at an average of 7 an over until the opener was around. He kicked-started the innings with a couple of boundaries off Hassan Ali – first one off an edge, luckily flying over the keeper’s head, and the second through third man. The Pakistan pacer sent down two full deliveries in his following over, and the left-handed opener duly smacked them both into the stands straight down the ground. He tried to cramp up Gayle for room in his third over – the sixth of West Indies’ innings – and the opener slashed hard to fetch another boundary in the third man region. Up next was Hassan Ali, who went for a short ball, but Gayle pulled it fiercely for yet another four.
On either side of this battle though, that Gayle was bossing hands down, Mohammad Amir struck twice to give Pakistan fans a little something to cheer about for the first time in the day. Shai Hope managed to find the gap once but top-edged to the left of mid-off while taking the aerial route for the next. Mohammad Hafeez covered a fair bit of ground but never for a moment took his eyes off the ball, and Pakistan reaped the reward. An iffy Darren Bravo played three balls before edging the fourth one to Babar Azam at second slip to depart without troubling the scorers.