In Pakistan’s 120-run win over West Indies at Multan, left-arm spin all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz’s spell of 4/19 in ten overs, which turned things in favour of the hosts, came under high praise from home captain Babar Azam as well as opposition skipper Nicholas Pooran.
Nawaz’s spell meant that West Indies, in pursuit of 276, were all out for 155 in 32.2 overs, giving Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. Nawaz ended hopes of any challenge from the West Indies by taking out Pooran, Brandon King, Shamarh Brooks and Rovman Powell in his spell and was rightly adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.
“We were confident at the break that we could defend this. Nawaz was outstanding and he took wickets at crucial junctures. We were under pressure after the first 10 but really happy with the way we fought back,” said Azam after the match.
Asked about Pakistan’s batting performance, where Azam, as well as Imam-ul-Haq, made fifties, he remarked, “The wicket was double-paced, our plan was to build partnerships. The ball was spinning as well. We were 10-15 short because we lost back-to-back wickets. We wanted to save Khushdil (Shah) for the end that’s why we sent him later.”
Pooran credited Nawaz for a game-changing spell and rued his side’s death bowling. “Tough day for us. I thought we bowled well in the first 45 overs but conceded 20 too many. Death bowling has been a problem for us. The guys are young and inexperienced. Hopefully, we’ll get better with every game. Credit must be given to Nawaz who bowled really well. It was definitely a challenging wicket. There were some soft dismissals, it wasn’t our day.”
When asked about his ODI career-best performance, Nawaz credited it to focusing on the basics and getting some help from the pitch. “I was focusing on the basics, the pitch assisted me. The ball was turning, we had an idea in the first innings, particularly after I got out. I have confidence in my batting, I want to do well as an allrounder and improve day by day.”