Cricket: Lara's theme a merry melody for W Indies

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BRIAN LARA'S penchant for the spectacular reached a new zenith yesterday as the West Indies struck oil amid the wells of Sharjah to win the Champions Trophy.

Facing the daunting 284 for 4 racked up by a Pakistan side deprived by injury of Javed Miandad, Aqib Javed and Abdul Qadir, as well as their captain, Wasim Akram, Lara's theme was controlled aggression. It took a superlative diving catch by the wicketkeeper Rashid Latif to curtail the mayhem in the 42nd over, but by then the opener had collected 153 off 143 balls, including 21 boundaries, leaving his side 12 short of victory, a task they duly accomplished with six wickets and 4.3 overs to spare.

Not that Lara was the only young batsman to shimmer among the sheiks. Seeking their seventh consecutive Champions Trophy, Pakistan, led by Waqar Younis, had stumbled to 87 for 3 in the 28th over when the comparatively inexperienced Basit Ali joined Salim Malik in a fourth- wicket stand worth 172 from 126 balls. Basit sped to 127, his maiden one-day international century, off just 79 deliveries, striking a dozen boundaries in addition to five sixes.

Accelerating to perfection, Basit expended 25 balls over his second fifty, yet despite reaching 96 from 61 balls, he failed to equal Mohammad Azharuddin's one-day international record of 62. He did, however, swing Anderson Cummins for six off the last ball of the innings, earning him dollars 5,000 ( pounds 3,500) from one of the 14,000 Pakistan supporters.

Following scores of 92, 84 and 90, Phil Simmons (42) added a brisk 111 with Lara to seal the man of the series award. His partner, though, was the man of the hour.

PAKISTAN

Saeed Anwar b Cummins 16

Aamer Sohail c Lara b Benjamin 10

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Haynes b Walsh 30

Salim Malik c Walsh b Ambrose 84

Basit Ali not out 127

Rashid Latif not out 2

Extras (b1 lb5 w4 nb5) 15

Total (for 4, 50 overs) 284

Fall: 1-28, 2-30, 3-87, 4-259.

Did not bat: Asif Mujtaba, * Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ata-ur-Rehman, Amir Nazir.

Bowling: Ambrose 10-2-64-1; Walsh 10-4-33-1; Cummins 9-0-57-1; Benjamin 8-0-37-1; Hooper 10-1-65-0; Simmons 3-0-22-0.

WEST INDIES

B C Lara c Latif b Mushtaq 153

D L Haynes c Latif b Rehman 3

P V Simmons c and b Malik 42

K L T Arthurton c sub b Rehman 44

* R B Richardson not out 15

C L Hooper not out 5

Extras (lb10 w8 nb5) 23

Total (for 4, 45.3 overs) 285

Fall: 1-29 2-140 3-213 4-273.

Did not bat: J C Adams, K C G Benjamin, C E L Ambrose, A C Cummins, C A Walsh.

Bowling: Younis 8-0-65-0; Rehman 8-0-43-2; Nazir 8.3-0-54-0; Mushtaq 10-1-46-1; Sohail 2-0-20-0; Malik 9-1-47-1.

Umpires: H D Bird and D R Shepherd.

West Indies won by six wickets.

Man of the match: B C Lara.

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