Cricket: Lara's colourful masterpiece: West Indies' eighth successive defeat of Pakistan

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The Independent Online
Pakistan 223-6; West Indies 224-6

West Indies win by 4 wickets

BRIAN LARA transported the rich vein of form that accompanied him across Australia and South Africa over the past few months to the Caribbean yesterday and regaled a Sabina Park packed to the rafters with another batting masterpiece.

The little left-hander's 114 was the basis of yet another West Indies victory over Pakistan - their eighth one-day win in succession since December - by four wickets with six overs to spare in the first of the five- match Cable and Wireless series.

Their task was not straightforward as Pakistan, against bowling obviously rusty after a three- week lay-off, compiled 223 for 6 from their 50 overs, their first total of over 200 in nine internationals against the West Indies. But Lara's mood was evident from the start as he attacked the Pakistan captain, Wasim Akram, forcing him into early retirement after conceding 28 from his first four overs. Wasim claimed Desmond Haynes to a top-edged hook at 21 but Lara was never found wanting for a stroke on a lifeless pitch.

Even a slugglish outfield could not check his advance as he counted a pulled six off the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and 11 fours from the 116 balls he faced. It was an exhilarating display similar to his centuries against Pakistan and South Africa in last month's one-day tournament in South Africa. Lara added 80 for the second wicket with Phil Simmons and when he was finally bowled, sweeping at the left-arm spin of Aamir Sohail, the West Indies were within 44 of their target.

Pakistan's chances were reduced as the substitute, Zahid Fazal, made a hash of two lofted catches off Mushtaq when Lara was 38 and 70 and also by the withdrawal of Aqib Javed, who broke down after six tight overs and spent the rest of the match on the physio's table.

Pakistan's total owed much to Aamir, whose 87 off 169 balls included six fours. Overcoming an unsteady start, he added 67 in 27 overs with Ramiz Raja and a further 118 off 21 overs with the free- hitting Inzamam-ul-Haq, who struck 49 off 50 balls.

Bishop proved particularly wayward, conceding 36 in his opening six overs. Yet it was the fast bowler who halted Pakistan's advance, removing Inzamam, leg before to a yorker, and Wasim Akram in the first over of his second spell.

PAKISTAN

Aamir Sohail c sub b Ambrose 87

Ramiz Raja b Simmons 22

Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw b Bishop 50

* Wasim Akram c Hooper b Bishop 0

Javed Miandad c Simmons b Hooper 16

Basit Ali st Murray b Hooper 17

Rashid Latif not out 1

Extras (b4 lb8 nb7 w11) 30

Total (for 6, 50 overs) 223

Fall: 1-67 2-185 3-185 4-187 5-221 6-223.

Did not bat: Asif Mujtaba, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Aqib Javed.

Bowling: Ambrose 10-2-31-1 (1nb 1w); Walsh 10-2-40-0 (3nb 1w); Simmons 10-2-26-1 (1w); Bishop (3nb 5w); Hooper 8-0-28-2; Adams 3-0-33-0.

WEST INDIES

B C Lara b Aamir 114

D L Haynes c Ramiz b Wasim 7

P V Simmons b Mushtaq 28

* R B Richardson b Wasim 17

C L Hooper c and b Aamir 21

A L Logie c Mushtaq b Aamir 7

J C Adams not out 11

J R Murray not out 1

Extras (lb6 w5 nb7) 18

Total (for 6, 44 overs) 224

Fall: 1-21 2-101 3-180 4-184 5-197 6-223.

Did not bat: I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, C A Walsh.

Bowling: Wasim 9-0-47-2 (4nb w1); Aaqib 6-0-18-0 (3w); Waqar 10-1-46-0 (3nb); Mushtaq 10-0-64-1 (1w); Aamir 9-0-43-3.

Umpires: S U Bucknor and L H Barker.

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